If you’ve resolved to eat healthier this year … whether it’s Meatless Mondays, Gluten Free Everyday, or simply an Obsession With All Things Green (this last one recently inspired by tweets from the lovely @JuliaAllison and @HabituallyChic) … then this soup is for you.
The ingredients (onion, garlic, zucchini, spinach, veggie broth, and fresh basil) are all affordable, accessible, and chock-full of vitamins. Even better: The finished product is — at once — light and delicious and warm and comforting … so you can actually enjoy your resolution to eat well, instead of slamming a shot of wheatgrass or whatever. The best part? I think it’s the garnish … the finely ground toasted pecans, which add a rich, nutty flavor, plus extra protein and a satisfying crunch.
Still skeptical? I hope you’ll try it anyway, and if you have a chance, please do let me know what you think.
Just Green Goodness Soup
Serves 4 to 6 as a first course
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 pound zucchini (about 5 medium zucchini), trimmed and chopped into chunks
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 cups packed baby spinach
3-4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup unsalted pecan halves
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, optional
In a large pot or dutch oven, cook onion in oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add chopped zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt.
Add 3 cups veggie broth; cover and simmer until zucchini is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Add 3 cups baby spinach and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.
Add 1 cup basil leaves. Stir and continue to simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes.
While soup is simmering, toast pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat, about 4 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning.
Place toasted pecans in small food processor. Process pecans until finely ground, about 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to small serving bowl and set aside.
Remove soup pot from heat. Transfer half of the soup to the bowl of a large food processor. (Please be careful when working with and blending hot liquids!)
Process soup until pureed and smooth.
Repeat with second half of soup. Transfer all soup back to the original pot for serving.
Taste soup for seasoning and texture. Season with additional salt as needed. You can also add the remaining 1 cup veggie broth now if you prefer a thinner soup. Then serve soup, warm, in small bowls (or coffee cups!) with a sprinkle of ground pecans (and parmesan cheese, if desired) on top.
Store left-over soup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. During warmer months, soup can be served room-temperature or even chilled, like gazpacho.