3/05/2012

broccoli + spinach + tahini soup

If you can believe it, this may be one of the last soup recipes that Green Girl Eats sees for quite some time. Already into the first week of March, daylight savings time only around the corner, and that familiar scent of all things new, of coming warmth, of change, and dozens of fresh new varieties coming into season. Springtime is a vegetarian's menu dream come true.

Still, winter or no winter (and truth be told, I'll take none), I've discovered yet another note-worthy and fairly simple soup recipe that is chock-full of vegetables, vegetables, vegetables. This big bowl of green comes from the magazine Whole Living, to which I am now fully subscribed for the following year. A publication that aims for the balance of body and soul, this particular issue contains page after page of incorporating color into your diet, a skill most experts say will guarantee balanced nutrition. (That is, as long as you aren't basing your color choices on things like Twizzlers and Cheet-os. But you understand.)



So of course, hereee are all the necessary ingredients AND: perhaps you will be as surprised as I was to find that the element of creaminess in this soup does not come from, ahem, cream at all. Rather, it comes from tahini (swoon), which is basically a paste made from ground sesame seeds. In a word, yum.


1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 leek, white and pale green parts thinly sliced
4 cups water
1 bunch broccoli, chopped (6 cups = A LOT)
6 ounces baby spinach (also 6 cups!)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons tahini
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

And, of course, we also added two chopped carrots and one chopped red bell pepper. Because that's what we do.


Begin by heating the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leek and cook until tender/transparent, which will take about four minutes. (This is also when we added the carrots and bell pepper.)



Add the four cups of water (or vegetable stock, which we forgot to pick up at the store, DARN); bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the broccoli and cover. Cook for about two minutes, until bright bright green.



This is the point where the recipe instructs you to remove the pot from the stovetop. The reason for this is because once cooled, you are to purée the soup in batches using a blender. If you are going to go this route, swell. Turn off the heat and continue the instructions as follows. If you are going to use our method and go with an immersion blender, then it's perfectly okay to leave the stove on, as long as it remains at a simmer and not a boil. What a mess that would be. (Also, the immersion blender allows for more texture to remain in the dish, which turns out to only be a matter of personal preference.)

Next, while simmering, stir in the spinach, Parmesan, and tahini. NOW: this was the first crack we had at this recipe. While the six cups of broccoli and spinach (APIECE) seem huge, the end result is only about four servings. The recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of tahini, but having tried it once, I could certainly add more on a second attempt. Possibly even double the tahini to four tablespoons, or even five if you really enjoy the taste of this condiment. Which I DO. I found that with only two tablespoons, while adding the expected creaminess of a broccoli soup, the actual tahini flavor got a little lost in the mix. Your call, darlings.


Once the spinach has wilted, which will happen almost immediately, take the immersion blender (a role best suited for cute Colin) and both carefully and slowly circle the pot until you've reached the desired smoothness. We left some larger pieces of broccoli intact, which happens to be my favorite.

All that is left now is to scoop it up into bowls, perhaps pair with the avocado toast recipe Whole Living provides, and serve. All in all, a very tasty soup, which could perhaps use some tweaking only in the tahini department. But otherwise, a total (and very green) success.