A few weekends ago, I was running errands while blasting Splendid Table on NPR (because it’s just how I do), when Sally Swift introduced Anna Thomas, and she started speaking about a “medicinal green soup.” I’ll be honest with you, I immediately scrunched my face and almost turned the radio off hearing those three worlds used together. As you can tell from previous entries, I’m a big fan of vegetables and kale in particular, but a straight up greens-based soup is never what I would describe as medicinal, wholesome, or comfort food. Thank you, Anna. I stand corrected.
This relatively simple recipe is one that I would unabashedly make for any other would-be nay-sayer. I think what really makes it is the heartiness of the leafy greens paired with the rich fat from the olive oil, and the natural sweetness of the caramelized onions. I knew going into this that caramelization would be laborious, but it’s worth every moment. I recommend making more than you think you’ll need, mostly because it’s just so damn delicious you can now add it to the next few days’ meals. I’m also looking forward to using any leftover soup to combine into a rice bake (think leftover roasted chicken tossed with greens soup and rice, baked with gruyere to top – yum!).
I used Great Northern Beans as they are an easy thickener and provide more protein than rice. To make the soup Whole30 compliant, leave out the beans – it’ll still be plenty delicious. Vegans, you’re almost there, just replace cashew cheese for your topper or forgo cheese altogether.
I can’t wait to hear how you feel about this marvelous soup.
Slightly modified from Anna Thomas; Makes about 6 servings
- 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsps Olive oil
- 1 bunch of chard, trimmed from spine and chopped
- 1 bunch of kale, trimmed from spine and chopped
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can Great Northern Beans
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder or cayenne
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Optional: gruyere for garnish
- In a sauce pan, gently toss onions with olive oil and a shake of salt. Cover and allow to cook on low heat for 1 1/2-2 hours. As Anna Thomas said “If you think the onions are ready, let it cook for another 30 min more”.
- While the onions are going, combine kale, chard, and spinach and vegetable broth in a saucepan and cook over medium-low until leaves are soft.
- Add in beans and seasonings through chili powder, then heat through. Remove from heat, add in onions, and blend together. An emersion blender works best, but a freestanding blender or food processor will get the job done, but might take longer.
- Once fully puréed, return to saucepan. Taste for any additional seasoning, then squeeze fresh lemon juice to finish.
- Serve with a small swirl of room temperature olive oil and a sprinkle of grated gruyere. Eat immediately (you won’t want to wait!).