Spring is here (yay!) and thanks to the buckets of rain pouring outside my window this very minute, green buds of this short and precious season are already popping out with the promise of a glorious green blanket around my yard and city. After the cold temperatures of winter but before the beautiful colors of Spring, everything just looks a little… dearth. Yes I said dearth. This word is almost understandable even if you don’t know it’s definition; which is “a scarcity or lack of something”. And our trees with skinny little branches, scarce of buds or leaves are dearth, indeed. Okay, enough about dearth, because that word does nothing to inspire a happy mood and because the green of Spring is coming! And this green is like no green we’ll see for the rest of the year. It’s precious and bright and fragile looking, and Spring green leaves quickly matures into the deep green needed to withstand the heat of the summer. Wait, didn’t you come here thinking you were getting a soup recipe? Back on track but related, here we go. This soup is definitely the color of Spring! And it tastes light and fresh… you know, like Spring. But you can get it and make it work for you all year long.
Using green vegetables and herbs, Spring Vegetable Soup uses frozen peas, so there’s no shucking tiny pea pods forEVER. And a good helping of baby spinach adds fantastic nutrients and you guessed it, Spring green color. Actually, the addition of Greek yogurt brightens the soup for that pretty bright green, and just the right amount of tang needed with the sweet peas and mild but onion-y leeks. A tiny bit of mint is almost indistinguishable, but just right here.
And as if the colors and flavors of this soup weren’t enough, this Spring Vegetable Soup is ready in just 15 minutes! The leeks get softened in a soup pot and then the broth is heated just enough to wilt the spinach. Carefully pour all the ingredients into a blender and give it a whirl. Either chill for an hour to serve cold, or serve it immediately for a nice warm soup reminiscent of split pea but brighter and fresh. I personally loved it cold and the next day it was even better (isn’t everything?). Last night, I tossed in some whole peas into the soup and served it with cucumber sandwiches on the side. If you need something more substantial in your soup, pour the Spring Vegetable Soup over rice or quinoa (warm version), or add fresh grape or cherry tomatoes (cold version). Add chunky ham or bacon for that true Split Pea Soup flavor. And vegan friends, sub out the yogurt for cashew milk. This recipe makes two full quarts and freezes well, too.
So, even though the Spring season is short and all the green buds will turn from bright to deep, you can have the color of Spring with Spring Vegetable Soup all year long.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups tightly packed baby spinach (about 4 ounces)
- 2 cups (10 ounces) frozen green peas, thawed plus extra for tossing in the soup
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, or cashew milk
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh spearmint
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat, add the leekds and ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes until just tender and wilted. Add the broth, and bring to a slow boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and peas.
- Carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender. Add the yogurt, parsley, spearmint, remaining salt, and lemon juice. Blend on high speed until the soup is very smooth.
- To serve, garnish each bowl with chopped chives, and extra peas (optional). Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.