Turnip Top Soup with Scapes & Kombu

Turnip top is misleading here.  It’s actually a “whatever greens you have an abundance of” soup.  Made to go through all that roughage the garden so gladly provides and which keeps us feeling light and loving (or at least me feeling light and loving.)  So while I made this using some Harukei turnip tops, feel free to replace them with spinach, chard, kale or radish greens.  Cabbage also works well, particularly Nappa; big old storage cabbage will take longer cooking to get tender enough to blend to creamy smoothness.

Yield: 4-1/2 cups, 3-4 servings

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth, divided
  • 3 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
  • 3 pieces (about 4″ in length each) of Royal Kombu (Note – if you’re a newbie to sea vegetables and/or if your Kombu cooks up slimy instead of tender-crisp and yummy, use only a 2″ piece and discard it after cooking the lentils)
  • 6 packed cups coarsely chopped turnip (or other) greens, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet (shiro) miso
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • sunflower sprouts and sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

What you do:

  1. Wash the lentils until the water runs clear and drain well.
  2. Place the lentils in a pot with 2 cups of the broth, the scapes and the kombu.  Bring to a boil, skim off the scum and then lower the heat to medium low.  Cover and simmer until the lentils are falling apart, 35-45 minutes.                                                  IMG_5128
  3. When the lentils are good and mushy, add the sea salt, the 2 remaining cups of broth and 4 cups of the greens.  Cover again, letting the greens wilt and become tender, 4-6 minutes for radish greens or spinach.  Try not to let them go to long so they become drab, a bit of bright is good as long as they’re cooked through.  (If you opt to use something thick and longer cooking like kale or cabbage, then chop them much smaller so they cook relatively quick.  Also add all 6 cups of the greens to the soup to cook since blending them raw into something smooth is a challenge unless you have a Vitamix or other high-speed blender.)
  4. If you’re lucky enough to have really awesome Royal Kombu, then remove one of the strips and finely chop it crosswise, reserving it to garnish the soup.  If you have slimy Kombu, remove it from the pot and compost it.                                                    IMG_5129
  5. Transfer the soup to a blender, add the miso, lime juice and 2 remaining cups of greens, and process until completely smooth and creamy.  This will probably take several minutes so be patient.  Be careful, it’s hot.  Blend in batches if necessary to stay safe!  Taste and adjust salt as desired.
  6. Serve, garnished with the kombu strips, sunflower sprouts and sesame seeds if desired.

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