Meatless Monday: Spinach Soup Made for Goldilocks

You remember our sassy fairytale girl G., the one who snuck into the Bear family country cottage, ate up all their porridge, sat in all their chairs and had the nerve to sleep in all their beds?

(Kim O'Donnel)

Well, that’s who came to mind as I sipped on a bowlful of emerald green spinach puree that I whipped up in just 30 minutes last week. Neither too thick and potage-y, nor too thin and brothy, I reckon Miz ‘Locks would deem this gorgeous dairy-free soup “just right.”

The credit for such soupy savvy goes to the folks at EatingWell magazine, which has just published its latest cookbook, “EatingWell in Season.”

As much as I love to eat my spinach, I’ve long wondered how I might drink it, too, but without the heaviness of cream, yogurt or buttermilk to help it all go down the hatch. The trick here is the addition of a few potatoes, which lends all the creaminess you’ll ever need but without the saturated dairy fat. You can easily pull this soup together after a long day at work and have enough leftovers for lunch -- if you don’t polish it off sooner. This one’s a goodie.

P.S. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more recipe tests from what appears to be a very promising and timely cookbook.

Spinach Soup with Rosemary Croutons
Adapted from “EatingWell in Season: The Farmers’ Market Cookbook”

1 tablespoon butter (KOD: I used equal amounts olive oil)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, needles removed from sprig, finely chopped (alternatively, 1 teaspoon dried)
¼ teaspoon salt (KOD: I ended up using ½ teaspoon)
Ground black pepper to taste
2 cups red potatoes, peeled and diced (KOD: I used a small handful of fingerlings)
4 cups vegetable stock or water (In a pinch, I highly recommend Rapunzel brand organic salt-free bouillon cubes)
6-8 cups (about 2 bunches) fresh spinach or Swiss chard leaves, stemmed
Optional garnish: grated nutmeg

Heat butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until onions are softened, about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add potatoes, stir to combine, ensuring that potatoes are coated with aromatics, about 3 minutes. Pour in liquid. Bring up to a simmer over medium heat and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile make croutons (see details below).

Stir in greens and cook at a simmer until wilted and tender, about 10 minutes.

Using an immersion or stand blender, puree soup until desired texture (KOD: I liked mine well blended and smooth).

Makes six 1-cup servings.

2 cups ½-inch cubes country-style sourdough bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss bread cubes with oil, garlic and rosemary until cubes are well coated. Spread in a single layer on a large baking tray. Bake until crisp, about 10-12 minutes (keep a close eye, as they burn easily!)

Save the Date! The second quarterly EDF is June 20-26. To be included on the EDF Honor Roll, e-mail me with the subject line: “Eating Down the Fridge, Summer” and in your note, include your first and last name, city, state (and country, when applicable), by June 18. Check out the EDF Facebook Group page for 24/7 updates! Interested in guest blogging? Let me know by Friday, June 13.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 1, 2009; 7:30 AM ET Meatless Monday
Previous: Weekend Project: Chicken Barbecue in a Loaf Pan | Next: Notes from the Oregon Coast


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Sounds delicious! I'll have to try this.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | June 1, 2009 8:41 AM

Hi Kim,

I usually try and steer clear of potatos--could I sub in cauliflower, and if so, about how much, do you think?


Posted by: SaraMarcella | June 1, 2009 8:59 AM

SaraMarcella, haven't tested the recipe with this variation, but I can see the possibilities. The recipe calls for 2 cups of potatoes, so I'd probably go for similar amount of cauli. I might mix a parsnip with the cauli, too.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | June 1, 2009 10:33 AM

girlfriend! HI!!!! hope all is well. Love this. I have bags of fresh spinach and just about tired of creating different salads! Will be trying this this week... great pic.

Bren @ Flanboyanteats

Posted by: FlanBoyantEats | June 1, 2009 11:00 AM

Sounds nice. Against all odds, my rosemary plant survived the winter after I abandoned the poor thing on the porch and is thriving. It goes into my new herb garden this week. Meanwhile, I have need for recipes using rosemary and this should do the trick!

One problem I have with measuring fresh leaves is figuring out the packing. Loose? Tight? Though I'm not sure about the amount, I do have a nice kitchen scale. I'm guessing a bunch is about 1/2 pound.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 1, 2009 12:32 PM

For all of those who value food so highly, I just wanted to ask a couple questions:

1) What do you think of fast food? and why do you choose to cook? How do you find the time even if you're so busy? and lastly, who do you cook for (i.e. your family, yourself, husband/wife) and why?

The reason I'm curious is because I just started working for this non-profit organization called Corporate Accountability International ( ), which wages campaigns to stop corporate abuse of public health and the environment. The health of children is a big concern as well as obesity, hypertension and diabetes, so it goes without saying that I admire a lot of your dedication to healthy, creative eating! Please feel free to comment back :) It would be great to have some of your insight!


Posted by: press2 | June 1, 2009 1:22 PM


Check out for 10 reasons to cook at home:

More or less, they are the reasons why I am, and have been, the primary meal planner and food preparer from college (roommates loved me) until now (family of 5). Just like my Mother taught me. Good luck!

Posted by: CentreofNowhere | June 1, 2009 3:00 PM

Jeremy - I'm with CentreofNowhere; that is a great list. I almost never eat fast food because it tastes terrible when you're accustomed to real food. I choose to cook to obtain the flavor and ingredients I want, and even when I'm busy I cook because no other choice is as economical. I enjoy cooking now more than ever because I'm pretty good at it after all these years. I cook for my guy and for myself.

Posted by: esleigh | June 1, 2009 7:09 PM

Love the list, although I think of cooking as more of a science rather than an art or a craft. I guess it could be called all three, though. I do eat fast food sometimes, but it invariably makes me feel bloated and sluggish. It is a relief to eat real food again and get myself back to normal. I am anxiously awaiting my first trip of the season to my farmer's market, which opens on Wednesday!

Question for Kim -- I have a loaf of sourdough bread that has gone slightly stale. If I make the whole thing into croutons, how should I store them and how long will they be OK to eat? Thanks!

Posted by: margaret6 | June 2, 2009 10:12 AM

Margaret6, I find that croutons store really well in a lidded plastic container versus bag, and will keep for a few weeks, particularly if they're free of cheese.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | June 2, 2009 11:24 AM

SaraMarcella, I use cauliflower in place of potatoes in creamy soups all the time. I've never had a problem making the sub before.

Posted by: mollyjade | June 2, 2009 5:58 PM

Could I pour the soup into my food processor to blend it? This sounds yummy!

Posted by: shauch | June 3, 2009 11:45 AM

Shauch, "pulse" rather than go full-on w/ the processor -- will be really hot/spatter, plus don't want to over stimulate those potatoes...but i think with the liquid and spinach, it'll be fine.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | June 3, 2009 12:03 PM

I made this soup last night and it was great. My husband and son were skeptical that it would be filling, but they both were satisfied. The croutons were a hit, too. I used up my afore-mentioned loaf of sourdough bread and the leftover croutons are waiting to be used in a salad tonight.

Posted by: margaret6 | June 3, 2009 12:30 PM

Hi Kim, Thanks for a great column and especially the spinach soup recipe. I want to try this, but I try not to include potatoes due to a recent diagnosis of diabetes. When I make a creamy carrot soup I use a can of great northern beans. Would that be a satisfactory substitution? I use my immersion blender to smooth the soup and cook them in a deep pot to keep splashes to a minimum. Many thanks for your reply.

Posted by: mysay | June 4, 2009 1:58 PM

Mysay, Another reader suggests substituting cauliflower, which we all agree would work really well here. You could also mix cauliflower and a parsnip. Let me know how it turns out!

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | June 4, 2009 2:59 PM

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