Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mean Green Soup

Training for a half marathon is hard, and we're not even done with week one. ugh. I'm regretting not running at all for the last 2 months or so. Oh well, no one to blame but myself. Though the running is hard and my legs are sore, I do have to say that overall I feel less tired and lethargic during the day so that's a nice change. However it has not made me want to get up and go to work in the morning any more than I used to. I guess it can't make everything better.

To go with this new training program, Joe and I have also started trying to eat a little healthier. I finally made some more of the energy bites that I wrote about in my 2nd blog post ever, and we've been stocking up on fruits and veggies. I saw this soup recipe in a Reader's Digest magazine at Mom and Dad's over Christmas and thought it would be a good way to incorporate lots of dark, leafy greens into our diet. I forgot to copy it down over Christmas, but Dad was nice enough to scan and email it to me. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Now I have to say, this is not the most appetizing looking soup. Maybe we can blame my not so great photography or the fact that I didn't have any natural lighting when I was taking pictures, but really I think it's just a bright green soup and it's not pretty. Despite it's appearance, it was delicious. Joe even really liked it and there was plenty of it leftover to take for a couple lunches this week. So if  you can get past it's looks, I highly recommend trying this, especially if you're like me and the thought of eating lots of soggy cooked kale or collard greens does not sound good to you. Here's the recipe!

Mean Green Soup (It's actually called Anna's Perfect Green Soup in Reader's Digest)
Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup arborio rice
1 pound raw greens; kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens)
14 cups gently packed raw spinach (about 12 oz.)
4 cups vegetable broth (I actually used chicken broth)
big pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring until onions begin to brown. Reduce heat to low, add 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Stirring frequently, cook onions until reduced and caramelized, about 25 minutes.

The onions cooked even more after this.

2. Meanwhile, combine 3 cups water, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and the arborio rice in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

3. While the rice and onions are cooking, trim the tough stems or "ribs" from the greens. (I used kale and collard greens).Wash well and coarsely chop.

All these greens get hidden in the soup!

4. When the rice has cooked 15 minutes, add the 1 pound of greens, but not the spinach. Stir and return to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the onions, spinach, broth and cayenne. Stir together and return to a simmer. Cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes.

A little blurry, but this is after adding the kale and collards. They reduce a lot as you'll see in the next pic.

This is after adding the onions and the spinach, and just before I blended it up.

5. Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. You could also puree the soup in batches in a regular blender. Once smooth, stir in the lemon juice. When you serve the soup garnish each bowl with a little olive oil. We also needed to add some salt to ours since I didn't add enough in the first couple steps.

That's it! All of the caramelized onions really add flavor so it doesn't taste like your just eating cooked greens. I think next time I'll add some garlic too. There can never be too much garlic! I hope that you give this a try and that you enjoy it. Please let me know if you do or if you come up with any good variations! Now it's time for me to go work on a 1st birthday cake order for this Saturday. You know I'll share pictures when it's done :)


  1. I'm going to have to try this. It doesn't look bad... at least it's bright green and not baby-poo green!

  2. Green's my favorite color! I'll have to try it.

  3. I made this soup this weekend and it was awesome. (I did add garlic)I served it with a little toasted wheat roll with melted Parmesan. Yummy!

    1. I'm glad you liked it! It's nice to know that something so healthy can taste so good, right?! Thanks for commenting :)

  4. I actually made this a couple weeks ago and cannot believe how delicious it was. I added some carrots, garlic and fresh ginger. I sort of messed up the recipe -- or thought I had -- when I felt I had accidentally burned the onions, however, I kept going. When I had blended the greens, it looked awful. One taste and I was addicted. It was amazing! I had a second helping of the soup. Tomorrow I'm going out to get some more ingredients for a second batch.

  5. What a great soup! I discovered your recipe last February and I have made at least one to two batches a month ever since. It is just delicious. The cayenne adds a little zip. I love it with crumbled feta cheese. I am back to check out more recipes!

    1. Thank you! I think the feta cheese sounds like an awesome addition. It's been a while since I've made it now, but you're got me wanting to try it again!