Greens Soup

Kale Soup Swiss Chard SoupEating your greens is a very healthy thing to do, right? But me personally, I’ve never much been into greens :( The urge for a green salad almost never hits me, and cooked greens can leave a strange “chalky” feeling in my mouth, which makes eating cooked greens unpleasant for me.

I decided to research this a little and found out that the chalky feeling is due to oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is an organic compound that naturally occurs in many dark leafy greens such as swiss chard, spinach, beet greens etc. When ingested, oxalic acid binds to minerals, particularly calcium and iron, and reduces the absorption of these minerals in your digestive track. Oxalic acid is also a big contributor to kidney stones.

Cooking your greens helps to break down and release the oxalic acid, and the longer you cook them for the more oxalic acid that is released. If you cook your greens in water, such as boiling them, then the oxalic acid is released into the water. Throw out the cooking water and you therefore minimize the amount of oxalic acid that you consume. However if you saute the greens, you are cooking them which causes the oxalic acid to be released, but the oxalic acid remains on the greens so you are ingesting it.

I remember when I was a kid I actually quite liked swiss chard (although I pretended not to!) and so I was puzzled why I wasn’t enjoying it when I cooked it myself. Well, mystery solved! My mum boiled the swiss chard, whereas I always sauteed it! Tada!

But back to eating more greens….I bought a lovely bunch of beets not so long ago and I went to chop off and throw out the beet greens (as I always do) when for some reason I couldn’t bear to throw them away this time. On a whim I decided to try using the greens to make a soup. I had a celery root (celeriac) in the fridge that I had also been meaning to turn into soup, so I decided to add onion, garlic and a few cups of homemade stock, and make soup. With my newly acquired information on oxalic acid, I decided to chop up and boil the beet greens first, drain them, and then add them to the soup. Although there is some mineral loss through boiling the greens, it is better to lose that pesky oxalic acid.

The result……one of the tastiest ways to eat my greens, ever! I love this soup and have made it several times now. I have tried a variety of different greens – beet greens, swiss chard, kale, mustard spinach and even stinging nettle! The type of greens that you use doesn’t really change the flavor much, but I mix it up for the nutritional variety and depending on what I have on hand. Each time I’ve made this soup I’ve used celery root because I love the substance and flavor that it gives to the soup, but I keep meaning to try other root vegetables such parsnip or rutabaga.

I love to eat this soup for breakfast – it’s warming, hearty, nutritious and easy to digest. It’s become my favorite way to eat my greens. No longer do I buy a bunch of greens with good intentions only to have them sit in the fridge and wilt as I remain uninspired. Now I buy bunches of greens specifically to make this soup! If you have a veggie garden and have more greens than you can manage, make this soup!

Greens Soup

2 large bunches of greens* (chard, kale, beet greens etc.)
2 celery roots (approx. ¾ – 1 lb each)
2 tablespoons oil (butter/ghee/coconut oil)
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 celery ribs, sliced
4-6 cups stock (depending upon cooking time and desired thickness of soup)
½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
Dash of black pepper
1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Use a large, sharp knife to cut off the outer layer of the celery roots to reveal the creamy flesh underneath. Chop the celery roots into chunks about 1/2 inch in size.
2. Heat oil in a large pot and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or so.
3. Add the celery root and celery, sauté for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the stock, bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until celery root is soft (about 20-25 minutes)
5. Meanwhile, rinse and chop each bunch of greens, removing the tough stalks from each leaf.
6. Add all greens into a large pot, cover with water and boil for about 5-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
7. Once the celery root is cooked, add the cooked greens and the (raw) parsley into the soup pot, along with the salt and pepper. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
8. Allow the soup the cool a little then blend to puree it – either in a blender or by using a hand blender in the pot. Add lemon juice and adjust salt to taste. Serve with a splash of yogurt, kefir or chevre!

Notes:
*Your two bunches of greens don’t have to be the same type…..I usually use two different  types, such as beet greens and kale, or kale and chard etc

This recipe was inspired by Green Soup by Traditional Foods.

Linking to: Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent TuesdayHearth and Soul HopReal Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Healthy 2day WednesdaysFull Plate Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter ThursdaysFight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie FridayInspire Me Monday, Make Your Own Mondays, Homestead Barnhop

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12 Responses to Greens Soup

  1. Christy says:

    Pureeing the greens in soup…what a great idea!

  2. Eileen says:

    Lovely! Thanks for posting!

  3. mjskit says:

    I did not know that about greens. Looks like I have some research to do to learn more about this. Bobby eats a lot of greens, but I have to limit mine for health reasons, but I do love them and eat them sparingly. I have always tried to minimize the cooking of them and many times just eat them raw in smoothies and salads. Hum – need to look into to this more. Your greens soup looks and sounds delicious! I like the addition of the celery root. Great post!

    • Debbie says:

      I don’t think the oxalic acid issue is anything to be alarmed about unless you are sensitive to oxalates, but it is something to keep in mind if you eat a LOT of greens. But because greens are so good for you, keep eating them if you can!

  4. Beet greens are some of my favorites greens our there. We sautee them with butter and garlic, but this sounds like a wonderful way of included them in our diet too. Any green for that matter! Lovely recipe.

  5. I’m personally a salad lover. When it comes to greens in soup, I tend to raise an eyebrow, lol. Hubs tried to get me to toss some salad in my recent soup, I couldn’t do it.
    I love not wasting food though. Bravo on coming up with a recipe to use the greens! Thanks for sharing on foodie friday

  6. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Debbie,
    I will just love this soup and can’t wait to taste it. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Pingback: Sunday Snippets

  8. Pingback: Greens, Soup, and Comfort Food from the Hearth and Soul Hop

  9. Heather says:

    I never realized that about the cooked greens and the oxalic acid, very interesting! This soup looks really interesting, and I would love for you to share it at what i am eating http://www.townsend-house.com/2013/03/what-i-am-eating.html

  10. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

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