Although this green soup recipe calls for all manner of good-for-you things such as peas and broccoli and spinach, we swear it doesn’t taste like doing penance. And to further help you put to lovely use all those green things languishing in your veggie bin or freezer, you can rely on this recipe as a basic blueprint and ignore the exact amounts. Nothing needs to be unerringly precise. Dump in twice as many peas. Reduce the spinach to a single handful. There’s no need to get hung up on the precise number of cups of peas or whether your broccoli is 12 ounces or 16 ounces. We’ve been playing with the proportions and it hasn’t failed us yet. (We’ve also been making a version that includes leeks and zucchini in addition to the ingredients suggested in the recipe below and wowsa!) As for that lovely swirl you see commingling with the liquid greens, it’s actually a surprisingly satisfying cashew cream—don’t knock it until you try it. Although if you’re just not into that sorta thing, go ahead and substitute a swirl of actual heavy cream or, for those beholden to someone with dairy issues or who subscribes to vegan tenets, unsweetened coconut cream.–Renee Schettler Rossi
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 2 H, 30 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the cashew cream
- 5 ounces (142 g) raw cashews
- 1 1/4 cups (296 ml) cold water
- 1 clove garlic
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1/2 to 1 teaspoon)
- For the green soup
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (1 to 1 1/2 cups or about 200 g)
- 1 head broccoli, chopped (about 3 cups or 10 ounces or 283 g)
- 3 handfuls (1 to 1 1/2 cups or 100 to 150 g) fresh or frozen peas
- 3 1/2 cups (828 ml) Homemade Chicken Stock or Vegetable Broth
- 6 to 12 ounces (170 to 340 g) baby spinach
- A small handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped (optional)
- 1 green chile pepper, chopped (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Make the cashew cream
- 1. A few hours before making the green soup, toss the cashews in a bowl, pour enough very hot water over them to cover, and let soak for at least 2 hours.
- 2. When the cashews are tender, drain them and toss them in a food processor or blender along with the cold water, garlic, and lemon zest. Process until completely smooth and creamy.
- Make the green soup
- 3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and peas to the pan and cook until they’re bright green, about 5 minutes. Then add the stock to the pan. (The vegetables should be just barely covered with liquid. If necessary, add a little extra water to the pan.) Bring to a boil and then gently simmer until the vegetables are tender, anywhere from 4 minutes to 8 minutes. (If using frozen peas, your timing will be closer to 8 minutes.) Don’t overcook the vegetables or they’ll turn an icky shade of dull green.
- 4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the spinach, a handful at a time, and let it wilt into the soup. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to a blender or Vitamix along with half the cashew cream and process until smooth.
- For serving
- 5. Pour or ladle the soup into bowls and add a swirl of the remaining cashew cream atop each bowl. If desired, sprinkle with parsley and chile.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This green soup has lovely fresh vegetable flavors and a stunning bright green color. I prepped the vegetables early in the day but didn't have time to actually cook the soup until later. This approach worked very well and I'm sure the prep could also be done the day before if necessary. Be sure not to cover the pan while cooking the vegetables and simmering the soup to ensure that the vegetables maintain a nice bright green color. My frozen peas weighed 14 ounces and measured 3 cups. The cashew cream was pretty watery and not a cream at all. I added half the "cream" to the soup, but did not use the rest as a garnish.
I was really excited about making this green soup recipe. It couldn't be any easier. The green soup part is a pretty fast process. The timing was perfect. I didn't bother adding water in addition to the vegetable stock. I used a Vitamix as I couldn't find our immersion blender. I added 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt to the cashew cream. This alone is an amazingly tasty cream to use with vegetables or as "hummus.”
This recipe made a really hearty, satisfying green soup that tasted even more green than green soup usually does. I liked that it’s thickened with the cashew cream instead of potato—it was light but still made a good meal. The addition of the green chile made it extra special. My broccoli weighed 425 g (I trimmed the stem and threw that in as well). I used a regular blender, not a food processor, for the cashew cream and it worked fine. I started blending the soup with a stick blender but then switched to using a regular blender because I don't think stick blenders do a good enough job with leafy vegetables and onions. Also, I was getting splattered with hot soup. My stock had no salt, so I added a teaspoon of fine salt and a half teaspoon of pepper. I was tempted to add salt to the cashew cream as well, but I resisted. Because I used frozen peas, it took a few minutes longer to cook the peas and broccoli.
Without the cream, the green soup just tasted like a big bowl of broccoli and spinach. But with the cream (and the added acid from the lemon zest) the soup mellowed and became bright and fresh with some fullness. Very healthy and very enjoyable. I think this would also work with regular cream as long as you still include an acid element. My head of broccoli was 181 g or 4 cups florets and my handfuls of peas weighed 144 g.