This soup was a happy accident. It’s a soup, but it’s also a full meal. Hearty and filling, it’s about as healthy as a meal can possibly get (at least in my house). But I had started out trying to make something not so healthy or hearty: a cream of spinach soup that my mother-in-law makes. Hers is the pinnacle of deliciousness because it has egg yolks and cream in it (and it’s impossible for that to be anything but delicious) and I was imagining something lighter because I do, at least pretend to try to keep things less fatty on a daily basis.
But that turned out to be a fools errand. I should have heeded my own rule that if you’re not willing to use the necessary ingredients you should just cook something else. (There’s a great story about something we like to call “Salt Lick Soup” that I’ll tell sometime.) Little did I know that the thing I set out to make (that was a disaster) turned into something so totally different and so totally delicious. The funny thing is that I don’t think I could have come up with any other way.
See, I had begun by tossing in some potatoes in the hopes that I could puree it, and by including the potatoes, fabricate some sort of pseudo creaminess. Sounded good, right? Yeah, well, then I tasted it and it was too… um… too… spinach-ey. Popeye might be the only one I would have been able to convince to eat that version.
Then I did what I do best; I opened my fridge and started throwing stuff into the pot. Avocado? That’s green! Oooh, and it could help with the hopes of creaminess! Then I spotted a bowl of leftover quinoa that also got thrown in. That added heft (like savory oatmeal) and a nice background nuttiness (of course we have that in ABUNDANCE here if you know what I mean. Harf! Harf!). Anyway… the last thing it needed was a bit of bite, of saltiness, to break up the now prominent creaminess. What’s better with spinach than feta cheese?
This dish actually did turn out to be really, really good. So good in fact that my (now 6 year old!) daughter keeps requesting it! And if you eat this for dinner you can have the vanilla chip cookies for dessert and not have to feel too bad!
Spinach and Quinoa Soup
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch scallions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable recommended)
1 10oz bag “curly” spinach
1 avocado, chopped
1 ¼ cup cooked quinoa
Feta for crumbling
Salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy bottomed soup pot heat the oil over medium heat and add the scallions and potato and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add in the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes being careful to stir constantly so as not to burn the garlic.
Add the stock and bring it to a boil.
Add the spinach and boil for approximately 10 minutes or until all the spinach has wilted and the potato is soft.
Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.
Add the avocado and puree again.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cooked quinoa and stir together to combine.
Sprinkle liberally with feta and serve.