Spinach Soup with Garlic Thyme Croutons
Soup is my restart button. Once I get started with the powdered sugar and beignets, it’s a slipper slippery slope that only leads to handfuls of caramel corn, and stacks of chocolate chip cookies.
Something savory, green, and surprisingly filling is the only way to stop me from digging through the freezer for a pint of ice cream. I have a problem. It’s called will power… and I don’t think I have any.
I want to talk about green things today. We should. We really should.
We should talk about buttery croutons too… because who wants soup without crisp, butter-soaked, garlic-infused croutons. No one.
Aaaand here we are on the slippery slope again. There’s no helping me.
This soup is simple enough that you can probably make it tonight. It’s like a refrigerator-dump soup… but in a super comforting way, not a left-over drudgery way. You’ll need a big bag of fresh spinach, onions, garlic, potato and chicken stock.
Totally reasonable, right?
Onions are garlic and sauteed until softened. I like to add the dried spices to the warm onion mixture. It helps to bring out the flavors of the dried thyme and the spice of the crushed red pepper flakes.
Chicken stock adds a layer of flavor to this soup. Using vegetable stock will make this magical soup vegan!
Potatoes are our thickener. This just feels good.
Fresh spinach goes into warm soupy liquids. Just suggesting that the spinach meld with this soup is enough. It wants to comply. An immersion blender will make this soup silky smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular blender will do. Blend in batches.
Ps. Be careful blending hot liquids. Don’t burn your face.
Can we just get to the croutons already!? Geeeeez. This is the good part.
A stale French Bread will do. We cut generous cubes because croutons should always be generous and almost more than a mouthful.
We’re going to make a sauce of sorts with olive oil and butter. The fats are infused with garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes….
Then the ‘sauce’ is poured over the bread cubes. A generous sprinkling of salt, and some quality time in the oven make these croutons irresistible.
It’s wise to account for the fact that you’re going to eat at least 8 croutons straight from the oven. Always make extra croutons.
This soup is smooth and creamy comfort. It’s unapologetically packed with fresh spinach, but surprisingly… the soup doesn’t taste overwhelmingly spinachy. If you closed your eyes and thought of ham, you might think you were eating split pea soup instead of spinach soup. The croutons are divine… that’s a no-brainer.
It’s a big warm bowl of Fresh Start… with too many croutons (which I’m sorry/not sorry about).
Now… I do love a good soup. Should you need some more hot-pot inspiration, here are my Top Five Soups You Should Totally Chop An Onion For (title of my forthcoming book?).
Lentil and Ginger Soup, extra couscous extra extra parmesan cheese.
Tomato and Zucchini Soup, an excuse for tater tots.
Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup, you won’t even know it’s vegan.
Beef and Sweet Potato Stew, because you’ve got yourself a stew goin’.
Cold Avocado Soup, with sweet corn and BACON!
Spinach Soup with Garlic Thyme Croutons
makes about 6 cups of soup
adapted from Eating Well
For the Soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium union, coarsely hopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups peeled and diced red potatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water)
6 heaping cups fresh spinach leaves (chard or kale is good too!)
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste
freshly grated nutmeg for garnish and olive oil for topping
For the Croutons:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste
4-6 heaping cups stale bread cubes
To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt and saute for 2 minutes. Add potatoes and saute for 3 minutes more.
Pour in chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potato chunks are cooked through. Reduce heat to low and add spinach leaves. Stir and cook spinach down in the hot broth for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and puree soup with an immersion blender. You can also blend the soup in a regular blender in batches. Just be careful not to overfill the blender when pureeing.
Once pureed, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Stir.
To prepare the croutons, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place bread crumbs on the parchment and set aside. Heat oil and butter in a medium saute pan until butter is melted. Add sliced garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Remove garlic from the pan and discard. Remove fat from the heat. Add thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Drizzle melted butter mixture over the bread cubes. Sprinkle generously with salt and toss with your hands. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cubes are golden brown and crisp.
To serve, ladle generous bowls of soup. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg, olive oil, and too many croutons.