This is by far my most favorite soup I’ve EVER had, and it is very much so kiddo approved. My second born literally specifically asked for this soup for his birthday dinner the year he turned 3, and continues to ask on a regular basis, “Can we have Green Soup?” when we’re talking about what we’re having for dinner. This is coming from a kid who also turns up his nose and says, “Ew, broccoli!” anytime that green vegetable is put in front of him. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t realize quite how many veggies are packed into this soup, but you can bet I absolutely love how easy it makes it to get a really significant amount of greens into my kiddos little bodies without a fight.
Feel free to skip to the very bottom for the printable recipe, but I hope you’ll enjoy my breakdown of making this recipe if it’s helpful for you!
I’ve adapted this recipe from one I found on Epicurious.com (a resource I LOVE to find recipes on) by Kay Chun. I have been making it for years now, though always slightly different from the original one. I like to make a larger batch at a time, and also don’t use water in the recipe at all. I have also used tons of different green mixtures over the years, it’s very versatile. My version of “Creamy Fennel & Greens Soup” was renamed by my kiddos to “Green Soup” so here we are.
We eat this soup on a regular basis, but I especially love it when we need a “meatless” night or when we are fighting off an illness because it is so packed with nutrients between the greens and bone broth.
The real MVP of this recipe is most certainly the fennel. Before this soup, I hadn’t ever used fennel in my kitchen. It’s not easy to find organic where I am in Texas, which is a huge bummer, but thankfully I can at least get some when I need it for this recipe. It cuts much like an onion, without burning your eye balls out, and has a lovely fresh flavor. If you’re new to fennel, just trust me and wait until you try this soup!
The next most important part of this meal, the greens. We’re talking about 2 pounds of dark, leafy greens (like collards, swiss chard, kale, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.) PLUS 6 cups of baby spinach. For this particular time, I used a mixture of fresh swiss chard and mustard greens from the farm up the road that I love to grab produce from. Circle S Farm is a great place to grab local, organically grown produce on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings if you’re in the area! (Check their website before you head over, they close periodically throughout the year.) They also have great educational info on their Instagram and Facebook pages that I personally love to follow along.
The final most important component to this soup is definitely the bone broth. I was able to fill up my freezer with 14 quarts of turkey broth after Thanksgiving this year (from two 15-ish lb turkeys), so that is what I chose this time around. I usually make this with homemade chicken bone broth, though. Both are great! I am always especially grateful for the way I freeze my broth because I totally forgot to pull it out ahead of time, and was able to quickly thaw these flattened bags in the sink while I prepped the rest of the soup.
This is the Food Saver I use to bag my broth. I get asked a ton on Instagram Stories about bagging broth like this, and it’s been so helpful to do it this way! I don’t use the vacuum seal feature, just the seal. There’s a way you can just lay your bag flat and get out most of the air bubbles to make it work. Freeze flat and you’re good to go!
Another tool that makes this soup assembly a breeze, is a nifty little tool I picked up from a store one day a few years ago. I can’t remember where exactly I got it, but this one looks like the most recent version, and is super affordable!
I really like to get all of my ingredients out when I start making something, and then I get to prepping before I start to cook. I pull out my butter and oil, salt and pepper, and all of the produce and broth, and then get to chopping!
The expensive part of making this soup is by far having an emulsifying blender to really get this soup blended up when the time is right. Everything gets blended smooth at the end, and while you can use a blender that doesn’t necessarily emulsify, you’ll have a slightly chunky version of this soup, instead of a perfectly smooth result like the recipe intends it to be served like. Our Vitamix purchase has been well worth the price tag, and gets used for various things almost every single day.
Cutting fennel might seem intimidating if you’re new to it, but they really are simple to cut. I make them about the same size as my onions, and they go into the recipe all together so I start with them and then move on to the onion.
A few tricks I like to use while cutting onions to minimize burning eyes are:
- After slicing off ends and peeling the whole onion, immediately rinsing with cold water (setting aside the paper towel used for drying!)
- Breathing out of my mouth instead of my nose while cutting (this really helps if you’re conscious of it the whole time)
- Slicing quickly and efficiently and then laying the used paper towel over the chopped onions while I wait to use them
Next, I get my butter and oil heated in my pot over medium heat. This isn’t my largest stock pot, but it’s the large size that comes in typical cooking sets and is the perfect size for this recipe. A little bit of foam is produced from the butter that subsides after a few moments of simmering (careful not to brown your butter) and then you can add your fennel and onion.
After giving it a little stir, I add my salt and pepper. I never actually measure the pepper here, because I use a fresh grinder in my kitchen and just eye-ball it. I think I did about 50 turns from my Kirkland pepper grinder. While this is simmering until soft and slightly browned, I start stripping my greens from their tough stems.
That little tool makes this seriously take about 5 minutes, then I can roughly chop them up and dump them into the pot, followed up by bone broth. I usually give it a nice stir at this point (pot will be super full, the veggies will cook down) and turn my heat up to get the broth simmering. This will simmer, covered, for about 20-30 minutes until the greens are nice and soft. DO NOT add your spinach at this point, this is only for the tougher greens, the spinach gets added for only about a minute of simmering after this part as it wilts super quickly.
Once the soup is boiling, I drop the heat back down to low/medium and keep it covered for the rest of the 20-ish minutes remaining. While that is simmering, you can clean up the counter and dishes and chop fennel fonds from the ends, if desired. I literally NEVER do this, but wanted to make the final result pretty for you so I did this time. It didn’t make any difference in the taste of the soup once ready.
Before you know it, the soup is ready to wilt your spinach, and from there it moves on to my favorite step, the blender!
Exercising caution is obviously very important for this step, as your soup is VERY hot and you’ll be pouring it back and forth between the blender and a bowl to blend in batches. It only takes about 30 seconds-1 minute per batch to get it all blended up nicely in the Vitamix. I always pull out a bowl to dump my batches into temporarily while I get all of it blended.
Back into the stockpot it goes to await the delicious lemon juice and heavy cream that completes this lovely dish (and sometimes a little more salt, if needed).
If you doubted whether I was exaggerating about how much my middle boy loves this soup, I think his face says it all. This is him unexpectedly walking into the kitchen while I was in the blending process, he REALLY loves his Green Soup! Can you tell?
Our favorite way to compliment this soup is with a fresh loaf of sprouted whole grain sourdough einkorn (baked earlier in the day made just in time for the 2 hours of cooling required to be ready with the soup) with copious amounts of salted butter. I have been learning the art of sourdough bread making from Jovial, and their cookbook is full of delicious recipes like this Sprouted Country Loaf. Their website also provides incredibly helpful tutorials on getting started with bread making, too!
You might be tempted to add to this soup, but trust me when I say it’s extremely filling (when you use actual bone broth, which is loaded with protein) just as it is. We’ve tried adding sausage and rice in the past, and it’s just not right. It’s perfect just the way it is, I promise!
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Yield: 8 ServingsAuthor: Nicole Bimber cultivating-motherhood.com/articles/2019/11/6/green-soupPrep time: 30 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 30 MA delicious, kid-friendly, veggie packed nutrient dense soup that the entire family enjoys.
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 2 Tb unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed & chopped (fonds set aside, if desired for garnish)
- 2lbs dark, leafy greens (any mixture of collards, swiss chard, beet greens, kale, mustard greens, etc.), coarse stems removed & leaves roughly chopped
- 12 cups bone broth (chicken or turkey)
- 6 cups (4 ounces) baby spinach
- 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- fennel fonds (reserved from bulbs), if desired for garnish
- salt & pepper (I use pink himalayan sea salt in all of my recipes)
- Heat oil and butter in large/heavy stock pot over medium heat, until foam subsides.
- Add chopped fennel and onion, 1 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly browned, about 7-8 minutes.
- Add leafy greens (NOT the spinach!) and broth to pot and give a nice stir. Increase heat and cover to bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, covered, until greens are tender.
- Stir in spinach and cook, uncovered just until wilted, about 1 minute.
- Purée soup in batches in a blender (preferably one that can emulsify) using caution as soup will be very hot, until smooth. Return to pot on low heat. *Stop here and cool to freeze if freezer cooking this meal, it freezes perfectly at this point and you can add your lemon juice, heavy cream, and added salt once thawed and re-heated.
- Stir in lemon juice and heavy cream and allow to reheat over low heat, if needed. Taste, and season with more salt if necessary and serve with fresh baked bread and butter! Garnish with reserved fennel fonds, if desired.
Recipe can easily be halved, or doubled, to fit your family size/preference. I personally love to double and freeze this recipe to have ready on hand in our freezer for busy nights to avoid eating out.
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