Spinach, Potato, and Fresh Greens Soup
July 10, 2011

My husband and I both love the taste of spinach, but its bright color, healthfulness, and its complete versatility make it one of my favorite and most used ingredients. However, it can be challenging to work a large portion of spinach into recipes. In pastas, salads, and stuffed vegetables its fantastic- but usually these all contain relatively small portions of spinach. When I ran across this dish in my Better Homes and Gardens I was first attracted to its vivid colors- the electric green spinach soup topped with the bright red tomatoes, the mix of vibrant greens, and the pale shavings of Parmesan cheese, but the large amount of spinach in each serving and the healthfulness of the other ingredients is what convinced me. While this soup has a lot of spinach flavor it is not overly strong and it blends well with the other components. The spinach, stock, and potato make the soup savory and soft while the greens, tomato and herbs give it brightness and balance. These bright flavors keep the soup refreshing enough to be served even in warm weather.

Made primarily of stock, spinach, and potato, this soup is really nutritious but has a lot of flavor from touches of richer ingredients like Parmesan and Sherry without adding many calories. Spinach is a good source of tons of vitamins, especially iron, calcium and vitamin C, while potato is also a good source of vitamin C as well as fiber.
The main adaptations I made to the original recipe were to substitute olive oil for butter to make it healthier, and swapping vegetable stock for chicken stock to make the dish kosher. The recipe originally called for fresh watercress as a topping, but it can be hard to find and can be expensive, so I substituted baby spring greens. A fresh herb salad mixture would also work well, fresh spinach leaves, arugula- any favorite salad would work well. A creamy topping instead of a harder cheese would be good along with the salad or alone- sour cream, goat cheese, creme fresh, et cetera. This would add extra calories of course, but the stronger the cheese, like goat cheese or blue cheese, the less you need to use and therefore the less calories added. Frozen spinach can easily be used instead of fresh for a cost savings and will not hurt the texture since it should be soft in the soup anyway. The nutrition and number of servings are based on using this recipe as an appetizer soup, but a larger serving with some fresh bread would make a lovely meal. It's also so low in calories it's a great way to have and serve an extra course with a meal.

Spinach, Potato, and Fresh Greens Soup
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped
3 medium Garlic Cloves, minced or pressed
12 teaspoon Dried Oregano
12 teaspoon Dried Basil
12 teaspoon Dried Rubbed Sage
2 tablespoons Cooking Sherry (optional)
28 ounces Vegetable Stock
1 large Potato, peeled and chopped
1 and 14 pounds Fresh Spinach, washed
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cups Spring Greens Mix
2 ounces Parmesan Cheese, shaved into slices (optional)
2 small Tomatoes, cut into small wedges

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and herbs and cook for at least 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. If using sherry, remove the pot from the heat and add the sherry. Return to heat, cook and stir mixture for one minute.

Add stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until potato is tender.

Stir spinach, half at a time, into the soup until wilted, and continue cooking for 5 minutes. If you're using frozen spinach, cook until spinach is warmed and continue for 2 minutes. Remove the pot of soup from the heat.

Blend soup with immersion blender until smooth, or transfer soup half at a time to food processor or blender; cover and process or blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot; heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. To serve, top each bowl with greens, shaved Parmesan, and tomato wedges.

Calories*: 158 Fat*: 8 g Carbs*: 16 g Cholesterol*: 8 mg
Sugar*: 3 g Fiber*: 4 g Protein*: 8 g Servings*: 6 (1 Bowl each)

Ease*: 8/10 Categories: Appetizer
Total Time*: 45 minutes Active Time*: 45 minutes
Kosher: Dairy or Parve


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