Green Bean and Spinach Soup

Decadence now comes in a sexy shade of green.  This soup is velvety smooth (thank you high-speed blender…), completely creamy with a whole host of gorgeous greens.  No one will ever suspect the green beans were frozen or that it doesn’t have dairy!  It tastes as good cool, as warm, as room temperature; so feel free to take this starter (or main) through into any season.

Yield: 5 generous cups

What you need:

  • 3 cups frozen green beans (or wax beans), mostly thawed and drained, 1″ pieces if possible
  • 1 leek, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Wicked Healthy Cheez Sauce, made with regular rather than smoked paprika (this is an insanely good cashew-based cheezy sauce from the Sarno brothers that you can get the recipe for here – everyone should have at least a gallon in the fridge on-hand for everything; but feel free to substitute with any non-dairy based cheese sauce or cashew cream if preferred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon herb salt (or regular salt)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 clove black garlic (a slow fermented garlic with lots of umami flavor, just omit if unavailable)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, lightly packed
  • steamed broccoli to serve (optional)
  • roasted squash to serve (optional)
  • minced parsley to serve (optional)

What you do:

  1. Heat a non-stick (read cast-iron) pan on medium flame until hot.  Add the leek and green beans and reduce heat to medium-low.  Sweat until no longer raw, but not really cooked either.  There should be enough water/ice on the green beans to keep things from sticking, but feel free to add some olive oil if desired.  All excess water should be evaporated once you’re done and everything should be hot, drain if necessary.
  2. While the green beans and leek are doing their thing, add all the other ingredients to a blender (high-speed if you’ve got it since green bean stems are stringy and will influence the mouthfeel of the soup, a high-speed blender will just blast through it all.)  Put the liquid broth on the bottom, the cheez sauce on top and everything else after.
  3. Once done, add the leek and green beans to the blender too.
  4. Blend, starting low and then increasing the speed until velvety smooth.  If the blender has a soup cycle, then about 2 minutes and 45 seconds of that ought to do it.  Check for flavor and temperature, adjusting the seasoning and/or reheating as necessary.
  5. Serve, either as is or with a generous helping of steamed broccoli and a smattering of roasted squash and minced parsley as shown.

Variations:

  • Substitute the spinach for baby kale or young beet greens or chard;
  • Substitute the green beans for tiny cut florets of broccoli and/or cauliflower;
  • Substitute the green beans for an equivalent amount of asparagus stalks (and tips if you have no choice, but try and save the tips for something which will show them off!)

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