Sunny one day, rainy and cold the next. Peaceful, then wildly windy! Warm, then here comes a snowstorm! Spring is so beguiling… and so fickle!
Let’s not forget, we’re in another transition time. Spring is a little bit of a seesaw. So our immune systems can be tricked! We can get colds or leftover remnants of the flu.
It’s been super rainy here in the Bay Area, in fact, super rainy in many parts of the country. And while you may be yearning for those bright, fresh spring greens it isn’t quite time to jump into a big salad yet. But it is a time when you want to perk up and feel a little brighter.
How do you welcome in the green of spring and still successfully juggle all the vagaries of what’s going on outside?
You know I always say that. :) But here’s why soup is superb for spring. It’s:
Bright. Soup makes the most out of all the spring greens and especially herbs to brighten things up.
Warm. You need the warmth. It’s blissful. :) And it makes your immune system happy.
Gentle. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is a transitional season ruled by the liver and the gallbladder, a time when you’re giving birth to new things and new ideas and when things are pushing their way UP through the ground. And though it may be tempting to say, I want something light because I’ve been eating heavy foods, it’s a time to be gentle with yourself. You still need that warmth.
Nourishing. All that nourishment, in a bowl! I’m fond of saying, Soup is life distilled in a bowl.
Creative! You can do so many creative things with soup, based on whatever’s in the farmers market, whatever’s on sale, whatever you have on hand, and whatever you feel like!
I’m an anytime soup kind of gal! But in spring it’s great to go with that promise of green, the color of spring and the new season. Here are 3 of my favorite spring soups to address this in-between time, when light, flavorful, warm and healing feels just right.
What could be more timely than these lovely fresh shoots of spring? This is my riff on a French classic, minus the cream. Sweet peas and mint naturally complement each other with their delightfully delicate, fresh flavors. I amplify the pea’s taste—and nutritional content—by adding pea shoots to the sauté. As for texture, the sautéed buttery Bibb lettuce counterbalances the mealiness of the peas, making for a smooth consistency.
If it’s leafy and green, it’ll work in this recipe. I used chard and collards, but kale or spinach would be brilliant too. The flavor enhancers are onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest, with a yellow potato thrown in for creaminess. The whole pot gets blended into a smart, calming emerald-green soup. Spring in a bowl. :)
Sometimes I wonder who was the first brave soul to tear apart a celery root and cook with it. To look at a celery root (or celeriac) and see promise is the definition of an optimist; it’s knobby, hairy covering gives no hint of the delicacy within, but it’s there, all the same. Sautéed with garlic, leek, and fennel, it yields a very pleasant taste that just cries out for a little spice--in this case, shaved nutmeg--to take this soup right over the top.
Intimidated by that hairy knob of celeriac? Here’s a simple video on how to easily prep it.
I’m taking a green soup to a potluck this weekend. (I can’t wait to see how people react!) It takes no time to pull it together, and of course, I know what a delicious, warming treat guests will have in store.
Want more soups for all seasons? Pick up a copy of Clean Soups, my lovely little book of delicious soups and toppings. :)
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