Meatless Monday: Anna Thomas’s Green Soup

This entry was posted on Feb 9, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.
Meatless Monday: Eat Your Greens!

Dark, leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-packed foods around. The more you can integrate them into your diet, the better. Here’s an easy recipe that includes a huge amount of greens. Like all soups, the flavors will mellow over time, so make a big batch and enjoy it over a few days.

Anna Thomas is the author of four cookbooks, including the original Vegetarian Epicure, one of the first gourmet vegetarian books published, back in the 1972. She knows her stuff. As with last week’s vegan chili recipe, feel free to use this recipe as a jumping off point for your own culinary explorations.

Many thanks to Jodi Mardesich for contributing this recipe. She found it on food52.com.

meatless mondayAnna Thomas’s Green Soup
Author Notes (from food52.com): This is an excellent recipe, but also a template. You could use any greens, and any herbs. Instead of the potato, Thomas has bolstered the broth with arborio rice, yams, sautéed mushrooms, or squash. The caramelized onions are key for filling out the flavor of the soup, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use shallots or leeks instead. It’s good for dinner parties, for brown bag lunches, and for dinners alone with a fridge of greens you don’t know what to do with. Thomas has also used the soup to comfort very sick friends, who said it restored their appetite and brought them back to life a bit. Recipe adapted from Love Soup (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009).

  • 1 bunch chard or spinach
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 to 5 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Marsala or dry sherry (optional)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  1. Wash the greens thoroughly, trim off their stems, and slice the leaves. Combine the chard or spinach, kale, green onions, and cilantro in a large soup pot with 3 cups water and a teaspoon of salt. Peel the potato, or just scrub it well if you prefer, cut it into small pieces, and add it to the pot. Bring the water a boil, turn down the flame to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, and cook the onion with a small sprinkle of salt over medium flame until it is golden brown and soft. This will take up to half an hour. Don’t hurry; give it a stir once in a while, and let the slow cooking develop the onion’s sweetness. If you like, you can deglaze the pan at the end with a bit of Marsala or sherry — not required, but a nice touch.
  3. Add the caramelized onion to the soup. Put the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in the pan and stir the chopped garlic in it for just a couple of minutes, until it sizzles and smells great. Add the garlic to the pot and simmer the soup for 10 minutes more.
  4. Add enough of the broth to make the soup a soup — it should pour easily from the ladle and puree it in the blender, in batches, or use an immersion blender. Don’t overprocess, potatoes can turn gummy it you work them too much.
  5. Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer, and taste. Add a pitch more salt if needed, grind in a little black pepper, and add a pinch of cayenne and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir well and taste again. Now use your taste buds — correct the seasoning to your taste with a drop more lemon juice or another pinch of salt, and then serve big steaming bowls of green soup.
  6. Garnish with a thin drizzle of fruity olive oil.
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.