The start of a CSA is usually really heavy on greens. I like to eat as many as I can raw on salads, mixed with pasta dishes, or tossed on a flatbread. But this past week I missed my local pickup and took advantage of farm pickup the next day. This means I got a lot of leftovers (score), including a giant bag of braising greens!
For this batch I used the entire bag - easily 1/2 pound or more, in addition to the last of the previous week’s kale AND the turnip greens. You can also add mustard, beet, chard, or even dandelion greens, though I caution you to use the bitter greens in smaller proportions than the sweet. You’re looking for around half a pound of greens, or roughly 8 cups after a course chopping.
Spring Soup with Braising Greens and Pasta
Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Serves about 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound mixed leafy greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped (roughly 8 cups)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock diluted with 2 cups water
3/4 cup small pasta shapes (such as alphabets, stars, or even orzo), or 1 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon (or more) apple cider vinegar
fresh ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish (save the rind for your stock!)
- Cook your pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling water until al dente. Drain, cool, and set aside until the soup is done.
- Heat the oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium-low heat and sweat the onions until they soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the coarsely chopped greens to the pot, a handful at a time, and let them wilt, stirring regularly.
- Add the stock,water, and salt and slowly bring to a simmer, then cook until the greens are soft (but not darkened or faded), about 10 minutes. *Pro-tip: toss the leftover parmesean rind into the pot with the stock for added flavor. Make sure to remove it before the next step!
- Puree the greens: transfer half the greens and just a little of the liquid to a food processor and carefully purée until the greens are chopped to the consistency of pesto. Reserve in a mixing bowl and repeat with the remaining greens. (Liquid doesn’t do so well in the food processor - if it helps, you might want to strain the stock first back into the soup pot and chop just the solids in the processor). Return both batches of blended greens to the soup pot. *You can probably do this with a blender as well, just take care not to liquefy the greens!
- Bring the soup to a simmer, and stir in the cooked pasta and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Taste, and add more salt or vinegar if needed.
- To serve, ladle the soup into heated shallow bowls and garnish with a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
How to make this Vegetarian or Vegan Friendly
You can easily sub the stock in this recipe for something non-meat, and also leave out the cheese. I would recommend subbing a woody mushroom stock or even adding leftover woody mushroom stems to a base vegetable stock and using that if you have it handy. If you go the mushroom route, make sure to add a tbs of soy sauce to create the umami flavor needed to balance the greens. Instead of cheese try topping with breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast. This soup would benefit from the addition of roasted carrots and parsnips, as well :) Add them in after the greens are chopped!