This healthy soup recipe is the veggie-packed meal our entire family enjoys, ages 1-33 (very kiddo approved). Being one of the healthiest, nutrient-dense dish I feed my family, I’m glad it’s also absolutely delicious. You will never guess it’s loaded with greens, or contains something unusual in it like fennel. With a base of homemade bone broth, this is a great go-to soup. Especially if you’re feeling unwell or just want to boost your immune system!
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Adapting this recipe from one I found by Kay Chun, I have been making it for years now, always slightly different from the original. Making a larger batch at a time allows me to have a stock of this in the freezer. I always make this using homemade chicken bone broth (or turkey broth, if I have it from the holidays). I have also tried various mixes of different greens over the years, it’s very versatile. My version of “Creamy Fennel & Greens Soup” goes by “Green Soup” by our kiddos. Because we eat this soup on a regular basis, I especially love it when we need a “meatless” night. When we are fighting off an illness, it is especially handy. This is because it is so packed with nutrients from the greens and bone broth.
Trying New Ingredients
The real MVP of this recipe is most certainly the fennel. Before I learned to cook this healthy soup recipe, I hadn’t ever used fennel in my kitchen. I’m grateful it’s more readily available to find organic then it was when I first moved to Texas. Don’t be intimidated by this unusual veggie, if it’s new for you! It cuts much like an onion, without causing fire in your eye balls, and has a lovely fresh flavor. If you’re new to fennel, just trust me and wait until you try this soup before you give it “the look”!
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 example, I’m using a mixture of fresh, local greens that include swiss chard and mustard green.
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. We had two 15-lb birds that I made broth from. 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. This is because I usually forget to pull it out ahead of time. It’s nice to be able to quickly thaw homemade frozen broth. I’m able to do that with these flattened bags in the sink full of water while I prep the rest of the soup.
I use the Food Saver to bag my broth. It is so helpful to freeze broth 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 I utilize to prep the greens is this nifty green and herb stripper. This one is just like the one I have!
Getting Everything Ready
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! Prepping properly is a major help with this healthy soup recipe.
The trick to making this soup smooth is having the right tools. An emulsifying blender really gets the job done. While you can use a blender that doesn’t necessarily emulsify, you’ll end up with a slightly chunky version of this soup. A perfectly smooth result comes from using a blender like a Vitamix. This purchase has been well worth the price tag, and it’s used for various things almost every single day. If you’ve found a blender with as much reliability and power as the Vitamix with a glass container, please send it my way!
A Note on Cutting Onions
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
Time to Start Cooking the Healthy Soup
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. It is the perfect size for this recipe. A bit of foam is produced from the butter. It subsides after a few moments of simmering (careful not to brown your butter). After that, 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. From there, I can roughly chop up my greens and dump them into the pot, followed up by bone broth. I usually give it a nice stir at this point. Your pot will be super full until the veggies cook down. I always turn my heat up to get the broth simmering at this point. 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. Add your spinach for only about a minute of simmering 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 remaining roughly 20 minutes. 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. Just a pretty garnish if you choose!
Time to Blend the Healthy Soup
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 next step, as your soup is VERY hot. 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 it’s all blending.
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).
Don’t Forget the Nourishing Bread to go with Your Healthy Soup Recipe
Our favorite way to compliment this healthy soup recipe is with a fresh loaf of sprouted whole grain sourdough einkorn. I usually bake a loaf earlier in the day so it’s ready just in time to be ready with the soup. Always serve fresh bread 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 for you to start making bread at home, too!
There is a tempatation to add to this soup, I’m looking at you garlic lovers. But, just trust me when I say it’s extremely filling just as it is (when using actual bone broth, which is full of protein). 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!
What is your favorite healthy soup recipe to make in your household? Share in the comments, I’d love to learn more recipes like this!