Green Garden Soup, 3 Ways, For Rainy Days

It's rainy and cool outside today. It's a perfect day for a warm, comforting, vitamin-packed soup. 

And how did I find the time to make it? 

Well... Ian is extra tired from hardcore teething for the past week. He's cutting the four canines, so it's been rough. Today he had no problem sitting quietly in front of educational videos for a while, as I chopped everything green I could find. I just hope he eats some of it (which I doubt he will). He's just barely getting back on the vegetable wagon after a 6-month fruit and dairy bender. He did have some Coconut Almond Pancakes from the freezer this morning, so there's at least one nutritional win today. Everything else will be "gravy", right?

This week I was looking for some fresh (or re-freshed) meal ideas. I was looking back at my blog posts from Springtimes past, and came across the Tarragon Zucchini Pea Soup I had forgotten about. I decided to play off that recipe and add a few more green ingredients. I divided it up into 3 parts before seasoning it with my garden herbs, so I could experiment a little bit. I thought I might even be able to utilize the lemon thyme I bought by mistake instead of the classic type. 

My little patio herb garden - spinach, lemon thyme, oregano, tarragon, sage, mint, dill, basil and chives (and some baby marigolds too, which are moving to the tomato section soon)

tarragon, basil, chives, lemon thyme

chopped herbs ready to play

For the first portion, I left out the herbs and just added an ounce of cashew cream I had in the freezer. It made a nice smooth soup with just a bit of creaminess. The cream enhanced the flavors of the vegetables nicely.

Green Garden Soup with Cashew Cream
In the second portion, I added lemon thyme and basil. It was light, bright and fresh - especially with a squeeze of lemon. A little lemon thyme does go a long way, it's pretty potent! I think this soup would make a nice small portioned starter for a meal. It was delicious but I don't see myself eating a big bowl.

Green Garden Soup with Lemon Thyme and Basil
The third portion I seasoned as I had originally intended. Tarragon and chives are a pretty solid combination with the green vegetables. It was the most savory version of the soup, with some zing from the herbs. It balanced quite nicely. It also left me staring into the wine fridge wondering why I hadn't stocked any light crisp white wines lately.

Green Garden Soup with Tarragon and Chives
Overall, all the versions came out nicely. The cashew cream version is versatile enough for anyone's taste. The tarragon chive was my favorite, as it has a nice personality without being overpowering. The lemon thyme basil worked, but had a bit too much flare to stand alone as a main course.

Green Garden Soup
approx. 6 Cups

3T unsalted butter (or your favorite fat, such as olive oil)
3 C green peas (frozen)
1 1/2 C zucchini, sliced
1 C celery, sliced
1 C (or more) fresh spinach
4 C water

Variation 1:
1/3 C cashew cream (cashews soaked in just enough water to cover, overnight, blended well)
1 T Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Variation 2:
3 T basil, chopped
1-1/2 tsp lemon thyme leaves
1 T Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
*1/4 C lemon juice, optional

Variation 3:
1/4 C tarragon leaves, chopped
2 T chives, chopped
1 T Kosher salt
3/8 tsp white pepper

1. Melt butter over medium low heat in a soup pot. Add onions and cook gently, sweating them - they should whisper, not sizzle. Cook 4-5 minutes until translucent.

2. Add all of the vegetables and enough water to cover (about 4 Cups). Raise heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer 20-30 minutes.

3. Stir in the desired seasonings in the last few minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and puree until smooth. 


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