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April 7, 2020

Let's Cook No Waste Creamy Spinach Soup

Casey Tuohy, Cafe & Bar Manager Department of Edible Structures at MCA Denver

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This flavorful and healthy spinach soup can be made vegan and gluten-free, and it only has 5 ingredients. It’s easier than you think!

This flavorful and healthy spinach soup can be made vegan and gluten free, and it only has 5 ingredients. It’s easier than you think!

When COVID-19 started becoming a more serious threat, like many others, I went to Costco to stock up. My household eats a ton of lettuce regularly, so I figured we should buy two of those big packs of spinach, along with a package of romaine, two live butterheads and some spring mix. This was definitely overkill, even for us. After about two weeks, the second pack of spinach started to get a little slippery - the first signs of spoilage. I am not one to throw away food, so I made a soup!

Soups are great ways to use up any food that is right on the edge of being thrown out, and once they are made, you can freeze them for the future. Especially now, when going to the grocery store is a health risk and produce is limited, we should do our best to not throw anything away. Do you have potatoes that are growing eyes? Or limp carrots in the produce drawer? Cut the growths off, peel everything, toss it all in a pot with some stock and you’ve got a meal!

Spinach Soup

 

This spinach soup is so easy to make. You’ll need only a large soup pot, a ladle and a blender. This recipe can be adapted many ways, depending on what ingredients you have at home, or what your dietary choices/restrictions are. In the recipe below I’ve listed some alternative ingredients, but feel free to substitute!

The first thing you’ll need to do is chop your onion and mince your garlic. It doesn’t really matter how finely you chop, as you will be blending everything together at the end. Heat the oil or butter in your large pot over medium heat and add the onion & garlic. Sauté for approximately 10 minutes until golden brown, but not crisping. 

Add your raw spinach leaves to the pot. You do not need to chop the leaves or remove the stems. The stems are packed with vitamin A, B6, C, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium, so you’ll definitely want to keep those! Add in the salt and pepper and stir until the leaves are well mixed. Cook, stirring regularly until the leaves are all wilted and have turned dark green. Spinach Soup

You’ll now add in your stock two cups at a time, stirring as you add. Once all of your stock is added, give everything a good stir and put the lid on the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Pro tip: heat your stock in a small saucepan while you are sautéing the onion and garlic. Adding hot stock to the spinach will decrease the time it takes to bring the soup to a boil, decreasing your overall cooking time. You can use whatever kind of stock you have on hand (I usually use a homemade chicken stock). Pro tip: For an easy vegetable stock, save your veggie ends in a bag in the freezer. When it gets full, empty the bag into 1 ½ quarts of water in a pot on the stove. Boil, then cover and simmer for one hour. Strain out the vegetables, saving all of the amazing liquid vegetable stock you just made. Put in jars for future use or feed to your houseplants as a special treat!

After the simmer, uncover and turn the heat off to let the soup cool. At this point, if you have a stick blender, you can pulse through the soup for about 30 seconds to break up the spinach. This step is not required, but will help with the transfer of the soup in the next step.

Once the soup has cooled a bit, transfer to a bowl with a pouring spout or other container with a lip. If you do not have something like that, any other bowl will do just fine. After transferring all of the soup, give your soup pot a quick rinse and scrub to remove any leftover spinach or onion debris. 


SoupPour or ladle the soup into a clean blender, working with small batches at a time. Put a tea towel over the lid of the blender before you turn it on to protect your hands from splatter and heat. 

Turn the blender on high for approximately 30-45 seconds. The soup mixture will appear frothy and bubbly. Once blended, pour the batch back into your clean soup pot. 

Continue the blending and pouring process until all of the soup has been blended and is back in the pot. If you enjoy dairy, now is the time to add your parmesan rind!  

Turn the heat on medium-low and warm the soup, stirring regularly for 10-15 minutes. Remove your parmesan rind (if added) and add salt and pepper to taste. If you’d like the soup to be thicker (as I do), you’ll now add cornstarch one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly. Pro tip: Run your cornstarch through a flour sifter or fine sieve for easier mixing. Cornstarch will not react in cool liquid, so make sure your soup is hot before adding. 

If you are adding cream to the soup, it is your final step. Pour in the cream and stir to combine thoroughly. 

Ladle the soup into clean bowls and serve hot with crusty bread.

Creamy Spinach SoupCreamy Spinach Soup

 

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