In the spirit of using our abundant garden produce and foraging the beautiful wild greens around us, we are eating soup so loaded with leafy greens that it looks like extracted vegetable juice. This stuff is GREEN!
It has been fun to figure out how to combine greens that would usually end up in the compost or the chicken yard into soups that we find interesting and satisfying. Last night we used a combination of the dark green cabbage leaves that protect a growing head of cabbage (which are typically discarded) and some foraged lambs quarters. The cabbage leaves are tough and require some cooking to break down, but they bring a great flavor to the soup pot.
Onions and garlic are a must with any soup, in my book. We saute them to get the maximum flavor before adding them to the soup pot. Voles have been dining on my garlic plants so I pulled some green garlic from the affected area, washed it, and finely sliced the bulb and the green top. It has great flavor. Fresh green garlic is definitely a different experience than the dry garlic from the grocery store.
Each batch of green soup is a new canvas for seasonings. Last night we simply added a fair amount of tarragon. Tarragon is a strongly flavored herb that blended well with the strongly flavored greens. It provided a surprisingly “finished” flavor. Another rich-tasting soup had substantial amounts of cilantro greens and pepper patties from the freezer. The pepper patties are sweet Italian peppers roasted with garlic and pureed. We have a stash I need to use up before the new peppers come in. (Read more about how we freeze peppers.)
Finally, a good green soup needs a rich bone broth to keep it from tasting like juiced greens. If you make continuous broth like we do, then you want to use the first and second runs of broth for this project. Because the greens are so strongly flavored, there is no problem using beef bones for this. Buffalo bone broth would work as well. Chicken broth would be delightful as well.
The following amounts are approximations. Whatever you do will produce a good green soup. With the seasonings, start out with a light hand since you can always add more. Taste and adjust. Try seasonings that you really enjoy. Is it fresh ginger and garlic? Curry? Go for it! There are no wrong answers here.
Mix your greens. Use what you have. The only thing you need be mindful of is that some greens require longer cooking than others. This is the case with the recipe below. The cabbage cooked for 30 minutes before I added the lambs quarters that boiled in a separate pot. Lambs quarters is high in oxalic acid so we cook it separately and then throw away the cook water. You lose some nutrients this way, but you also reduce the oxalic acid by something like 80%. (Read more about the food science behind oxalic acid, calcium, and boiled greens.)
In selecting greens, we find the less fibrous greens to produce a very smooth soup. Nettle soup (as pictured in this post) is delightfully smooth. The outer leaves of the cabbage, as we used in last night’s recipe, are extremely fibrous and bring the fiber to the soup. For a smoother soup, we add half or more nettle to whatever greens we have: lambs quarters, turnip greens, cabbage, or beet tops.
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The two boys who won’t eat vegetables, a story that has nothing to do with hiding greens in meatloaf or zucchini cake…
What a great recipe. Love the post. Come and visit us. We have a terrific recipe to share today.
Sounds yummy! I love adding garlic and onion to all my soups, too.
Found a similar idea in an issue of Eating Well, and green soup has been a staple ever since. Shitakes or other strongly flavored mushrooms make a nice addition, and during the winter I was tossing in baked squash for a really rich and warming addition. This spring it was nettles…I love the tarragon idea! So hard to find tarragon recipes, and I love it.
This green soup sounds delicious. By the by, onions and garlics (and sometimes ginger) are a mus for my soups as well. I am going to give soup a try this weekend.
Thank you for sharing this. I’m always looking for good soup recipes. I’ve pinned this one for future reference.
I often make a soup with radish leaves and carrot tops. Your soup looks fantastic! I love the idea of using foraged greens.
I have never really made a greens soup before, but I’m feeling inspired to do so! I need to get more greens in my diet. I really like the idea of mixing a couple different kinds of greens in the soup. Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night. Looking forward to seeing you at Summer Sunday Salads over summer!
great post. I love green soups and I agree that onion and garlic are a must with soups 🙂
That sounds really good. I usually make Kale soup which is delicious, so I’ll have to try your recipe 🙂
What a great soup with a lovely color. Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
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Looks yummy and healthy! I’ve never made soup from greens; it sounds frugal as well as delicious!
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Sounds delicious! Pinned it for later. Thanks for posting this yummy soup!
I suppose you could with a pressure canner but we just freeze the greens and make the soup fresh.