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Eating Greens Deliciously!

If you’re looking for something new to stimulate your tastebuds, look no further than this Savory Spinach Soup. It can be enjoyed at room temperature during these end-of-summer weeks or warmed up on the stovetop as the cooler nights roll in.

The recipe was inspired as I cast my eyes across the grocery store aisles of vegetables yesterday. I was drawn to the vivid shades of recently harvested greens. (Even the boxed varieties looked fresh and appetizing.) Surely, I thought, a soup recipe must be hiding there, just waiting to be discovered.

Two Variations

This easy recipe with sweet potato and fennel comes with two variations. My first attempt at developing a new recipe resulted in a European/American-style dish accented by a generous portion of fresh dill. This version is lovely and delicious, but my tastebuds were longing for something a little heartier.

Before serving it for lunch the following day, I doubled some of the spices before reheating it, giving the soup hints of Indian flavoring—and so, I dubbed it “savory.” I also added a quarter-cup of sunflower butter, which adds depth and a little more fat. The second round hit the spot for us.

A Different Approach to Savory

In my experience, most American chefs seem to think that the only way to create an exciting dish is to add jalapeno peppers and other chilies or maybe lots of cayenne pepper. But these spicy additions wreak havoc on the gut for many diners and set-off a chain of undesirable and unpleasant side effects.

Chilies aggravate both vata and pitta, leading to innumerable health problems when eaten in excess. According to Ayurveda, acid reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, headaches, and skin problems are just some of the conditions that can be aggravated by chilies, which are overly heating and drying.

My own personal definition of “savory” is a dish made flavorful by a mélange of pungent and sweet spices that add complexity without overdoing the heat! Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom work magic without cayenne or chilies.

Enjoy this Spinach Soup either way!

 

Print

SAVORY SPINACH SOUP

Preparation Time: About 40 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

If you don’t want to buy a fennel bulb, you can replace the fennel stalks with celery, but you will miss experiencing the sublime and subtle fennel flavor. Use the bulb for your soup stock, as I do, or slice it and then sauté or roast it and serve it in another meal. Either way, nothing will go to waste. If you plan to use a boxed almond milk, look for a brand made without added gums or gluten, for better health and better taste.  

2 large shallots, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 to 5 fennel stalks
2 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamon
6 cups Easy Vegetable Soup Stock
1 large sweet potato, chopped (2½ to 3 cups)
¼ to ½ cup chopped dill
16 ounces baby spinach
1 cup almond or coconut milk
¼ to ⅓ cup sunflower butter 
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons mineral salt
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Black pepper to taste (optional)
3 to 4 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

Cook’s Tip: I suggest that you pureé the soup in step 5 so the greens aren’t falling off your spoon onto your lap. If you prefer a chunky soup and skip the pureé, you may want to chop the sweet potato into smaller bite-sized chunks.

1. Peel and chop the shallots coarsely in 4 to 6 chunks. Dice the fennel stocks.

2. Add the ghee or oil to a soup pot that has warmed on medium-low heat. Add the spices and stir for about 15 seconds. Then add the chopped shallots, and let them sauté until they soften, separate, and the edges start to brown (about 10 minutes). Now, add soup stock and diced fennel, cover the pot, and bring it to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and let the vegetables cook while you move to step 3.

3. Peel and chop the sweet potato into medium chunks. Add the potatoes to the soup, re-cover the pot once again, and cook 10 minutes or so until all the vegetables are completely tender.

4. While the vegetables are cooking, chop the dill and clean the spinach. Once the potato and fennel are tender, add the almond milk to the pot along with the spinach. Stir well to incorporate the spinach into the soup mixture. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low while you cook the soup another 3 minutes until the spinach is wilted.

5. Finish the soup with the sunflower butter, dill, ginger, salt, and lime juice, all to taste. Purée the soup and, if you wish, serve it with a grind of pepper and some pine nuts.

For a less savory dish:

Follow the recipe above with the following changes

  • Reduce cumin and coriander to ¾ teaspoon each.
  • Reduce cinnamon to ¼ teaspoon
  • Omit cardamom
  • Omit ginger
  • Omit sunflower butter

Go easy on the nuts and sunflower butter.

Avoid sunflower butter if you have a cold.

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