This Green Goddess Soup defies all expectations of what green soups typically are. It doesn’t taste like pureed grass for one. It’s actually delicious. And it’s being shared by me, a self confessed Cheese-Lovin’-Carb-Monster (who ever thought THAT would happen!) Packed with immunity-boosting vegetables, this verdant soup is just what you need to fight off winter blues.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be interpreted as medical advice. I’m just sharing a recipe that is loaded with good-for-you nutritious vegetables!
Immunity-boosting Green Goddess Soup
Half of Sydney is out of action with the flu or COVID right now. So here by popular demand is a big pot of nutrition packed goodness that actually tastes great!
I’m not going to lie. The first couple of attempts here were pretty dismal and tasted like a hot green wheatgrass smoothie. I knew it was doing good things to my insides….but it wasn’t fun eating it!!!
But with a bit of tinkering, turns out it is possible to make a green soup that’s as delicious as it is good for you. The 3 little things that make all the difference here are:
Sautéing plenty of aromatics – lots of garlic, onion and/or leeks, celery and fennel (the secret ingredient);
Hint of spices – cumin and allspice <– Another secret ingredient
Cooking off the spices with the aromatics – Makes the spices toasty and brings out the flavour. So much more effective than just adding it straight into liquids!
What goes in my Green Goddess Soup
Just WAIT until you see the enormous pile of green goodness you’re about to cook down! It makes you feel virtuous even just thinking about making this.
I’ve tried various combinations and the vegetables shown below are my favourite for best flavour so it doesn’t taste like you’re eating a bowl of hot grass. But you can switch out with whatever veg you’ve got, so don’t get too hung up on copying everything I’ve used.
Don’t skip the spices. It’s not much in there, but it really makes a difference to the end result!
Veg load #1
If you don’t have one of the vegetables, just double up on another. This is a highly flexible recipe!
Broccoli – A whole head! I use the stalk too. Just peel the fibrous skin, dice the stalk and throw it into the pot.
Fennel – In my opinion, this is an under-utilised “secret ingredient” that adds a touch of special flavour to so many dishes! When raw, fennel has a mild aniseed flavour. Once cooked it tends to be muted when used in relatively small quantities like in this recipe. However cooked fennel has a wonderful sweetness that really adds to the flavour base of this soup.
Celery – Another regularly used flavour base ingredient.
Leek – In my base recipe I’m using one onion and one leek, so you can see both. But you can just double up on either. Again these bring a natural sweetness to the soup.
Frozen peas – To thicken the soup as well as adding a touch of sweetness.
Veg load #2
Kale – Yep, a WHOLE BUNCH of kale! OK fine, it’s a small-ish bunch. And we just use the leaves But I do like flaunting the fact that it’s got so much superfood kale in it yet it doesn’t taste kale-y (which I know people are not a fan of). Substitute with frozen kale or more baby spinach.
Baby spinach – An enormous mound of baby spinach, I use a whole bag (standard size 280g / 10 oz). Substitute with frozen spinach, fresh English spinach or more kale.
Aromatics and flavour
OK, so here are the ingredients that make this soup tasty!! You didn’t seriously think I was just going to ask you to whizz up a pile of green veg, did you??
Cumin and all spice – Just 3/4 teaspoon of each does wonders to add a hint of background flavour. This adds some complexity and interest to what could otherwise be a very one-note, grassy-tasting soup. You can’t actually taste them unless you have a very refined palette, which I don’t. But if you skip them, you will know something’s missing. So don’t! Sub: All spice -> mixed spice, cumin -> coriander.
Potato – This is for soup thickening purposes. You can use any type you want. If you switch with sweet potato, I cannot be held responsible for what it does to the colour of your soup (I see …. brown in your future?? )
Garlic – 5 whole cloves. You know you want it!
Onion – More flavour base. In the base recipe, I use one leek (see Veg load #1) and one onion. But if leeks are expensive, I just double up on onion. (In case you’re wondering why I bother with leek, it’s because it has a slightly sweeter and gentler flavour than onion.)
Cream – I’m just going to tell it to you straight: without the cream, this tastes like a hot green smoothie. Full fat, cow’s milk cream, all the way. Substitute with sour cream or creme fraiche, though be prepared for a slightly tangy edge to the soup (which would actually be delicious too). For non-dairy, coconut cream will work fine but will alter the flavour. Butter will also make a suitable alternative. I’d use a generous knob for sautéing the veg then stir in more at the end. Just keep adding then tasting, adding then tasting!
Just add water!
Most soups on my website call for stock for the cooking liquid, but this recipe only requires water. This is because we’re essentially making our own homemade vegetable stock as part of this recipe! The considerable volume of flavour base aromatics we use (garlic, onion/leek, celery, fennel) goes a long way to contribute to this.
How to make Green Goddess Soup
Nice and easy – 6 minutes sauté followed by a 8 minute simmer then blitz!
Be sure to use a very big pot. This is a big batch soup! Don’t worry, it keeps perfectly – fridge 5 days or freezer for 3 months (and stays nice and green!).
Sauté aromatics – Start off by sautéing the onion, garlic, leek, celery and fennel for 5 minutes until softened. These are our aromatics and using a generous amount like we do in this soup is the reason why we can get away with just using water rather than stock (as mentioned above).
Cook off spices – Add the all spice and cumin then cook for 1 minute. Cooking the spices is a neat trick for adding toastiness as well as coaxing more flavour out of them.
Simmer with vegetables – Add the broccoli, potato, water, salt and pepper and simmer for 7 minutes or until the broccoli and potato is tender.
At this stage, your green soup will look rather brown, but have faith! It will be a vibrant green once the kale and spinach are blitzed in!
Peas – Add the frozen peas (still frozen is fine) then simmer for 1 minute. That’s all the cooking time you need even if they were still frozen as they’ll continue to cook in the residual heat.
Blitz in kale and spinach – Turn the stove off then add the kale. Push it into the hot liquid to wilt slightly then use a stick blender to blitz. Once the blended kale is mostly wilted, do the same with the baby spinach.
Now blitz until it’s as smooth as you desire – have a little taste test to check. I blitz for a good 3 minutes on high. With a stick blender the soup won’t be completely smooth but I like having a bit of texture. For some reason, the thought of a completely smooth bright green soup creeps me out!
If 100% smooth is what you’re after, use a normal blender. Blend in batches with the feeder lid removed, else the lid will blow off when you blend due to the heat. Cover the opening with a folded tea towel and blend in batches then transfer into a separate pot. (Note all the extra washing up = reason why I’ll always use a stick blender if I can!).
Stir in cream. There’s plenty of residual heat in this soup so there’s no need to return it to the stove!
Check salt – Have a taste and check if there is sufficient salt for your taste. Just a side note: the salt comes out more the next day and beyond. I don’t know the science behind it, all I know is that the soup seems to get saltier the next day!
Soup garnishes – Ladle the soup into bowls then top with finishes of choice. I’ve gone with a swirl of cream, swish of olive oil and sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds, for something different from the predictable (albeit much loved!) croutons. Though if croutons is what you’re after, find it in my Celeriac Soup recipe.
I find this soup filling enough by itself but you know me, I’ll never pass up an opportunity for a hunk of bread for dunking. It’s pictured above with Crusty Artisan Bread, otherwise known as the world’s easiest no-knead bread and one of the most popular recipes on this website. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a must!
Big batch, keeps well – and stays green!
I don’t know about you but the last time I attempted a green soup, it went brown when I reheated it. So I’m pleased to say that this soup stays ultra-green through multiple reheats. It will keep for 5 days in the fridge or freezer for 3 months. Very handy when you’re out with a cold and it’s all you can do to stick a mug of soup in the microwave!!
Also, this is a big-batch recipe. Mainly because it was designed around using 1 whole bag of baby spinach, a whole bunch of kale, a whole fennel bulb etc etc. But it scales down perfectly – just use the slider on the recipe card (click on the Servings then slide down).
If you try this Green Goddess Soup, I’d love to know what you think! – Nagi x
Thanks for the inspiration, Ingrid!
I was going to call this soup Ingrid’s Green Goddess Soup (Hacked By Nagi). Because it’s inspired by my cookbook publisher, Ingrid from Pan Macmillan, who kindly sent up her Green Goddess Soup when I was struck down with COVID a couple of months ago. Nourishing and delicious! So I copied it.
Watch how to make it
Immunity Boosting Green Goddess Soup
Don’t skip the spices. Doesn’t look like much but it really makes a difference!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion , diced (Note 1)
- 1 leek (white part only) or another onion , diced (Note 1)
- 1 medium fennel , chopped (Note 2)
- 2 celery stems , roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves , roughly minced
- 3/4 tsp all spice powder (sub mixed spice)
- 3/4 tsp cumin powder (sub coriander)
- 1 medium potato (any type), peeled, 1.5 cm cubes
- 1 head broccoli , florets (peel and chop stalk too)
- 2 1/2 tsp cooking / kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1.75 litres / quarts water (Note 3)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 5 cups (tightly packed) kale leaves , roughly chopped (1 small bunch, Note 4)
- 5 cups (tightly packed) baby spinach (Note 5)
- 3/4 cup thickened cream (Note 6)
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted (or croutons or other toasted nuts, Note 7)
- Cream and/or olive oil for drizzling
Sauté aromatics: Heat oil in a very large pot (6L/qt) over medium high heat. Cook onion, leek, celery, garlic and fennel for 5 minutes until softened.
Cook spices: Add all spice and cumin, and cook for 1 minute.
Add water, potatoes, broccoli, salt and pepper. Stir, bring to simmer, and simmer for 7 minutes (no lid) until the broccoli is tender.
Add peas: Add peas, simmer for 1 minute.
Blitz in kale: Remove pot off the stove. Add kale, push it under the liquid, then blitz with a stick blender until mostly smooth. Add spinach, push under the liquid then blitz again until smooth as possible (approx 3 to 5 mins). This will result in a smooth soup but with little green bits in it – I like this for a little texture.
Serve: Stir in cream. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with extra cream and/or olive oil and finish with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. Eat and feel great!
2. Fennel adds a great flavour base to this soup so really try not to skip it. For those who are not a fan of the aniseed flavour of fennel, don’t worry, you can’t taste it!
3. Just water is required for this soup. We don’t need chicken or other stock for a flavour backing, like I use for most soup recipes. We’re essentially making a homemade vegetable stock here!
4. Kale – Nutrition booster! In case you’re concerned about a strong kale flavour, don’t worry! With everything else going on in the soup, the kale flavour is not really there. Substitute with more baby spinach or English spinach. Or 300 – 400g frozen kale or spinach (thawed, excess water lightly squeezed out).
To remove kale leaves, enclose your hand around the base of the stem then run your enclosed fist up the stem to strip the leaves off. To measure, push the kale leaves really tightly into the measuring cup. Jam pack it in!
5. Baby spinach – Substitute with English spinach, or more kale. To measure, jam pack it really tightly into a measuring cup!
6. Cream alternative – To make this vegan, use a vegan cream (available at some grocery stores these days), coconut cream or coconut milk (it will add a touch of coconut flavour which I think would be nice).
7. Sunflower seeds – To toast, preheat a small pan (no oil) over medium high heat then toast the sunflower seeds, stirring or shaking the pan every now and then, until light golden. Do the same with other nuts/seeds of choice (pine nuts, pepitas, almond flakes would be nice). For croutons, use the directions in the Celeriac soup recipe.
8. Nutrition per serving.
Life of Dozer
Pretty sure he’s never had a cold in his life….