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Spinach and parsley soup

Jam-packed with leafy veg, this vividly coloured soup takes all of 10 minutes to make. The rice cake finish is a great trick for making a smooth velvety soup.

SERVES

  • Two

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion (about 75g), sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • ½ garlic clove, grated (optional)
  • 100g spinach, any tough stalks removed
  • 100g flat-leaf parsley or watercress (or 50g of each), any tough stalks removed
  • About 400ml hot vegetable stock
  • 2 plain rice cakes
  • Extra virgin hempseed or rapeseed oil, to finish

METHOD

  1. Put a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and add the oil. When hot, add the onion, carrot and garlic, if using. Sweat gently for four to five minutes, stirring regularly to soften. Add the spinach and parsley and/or watercress, about three-quarters of the hot stock and some salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes until the leaves have wilted. Turn off the heat. Crumble the rice cakes into the soup, and stir in well. Leave for a minute to get very soggy.
  3. Purée the soup in the pan with a stick blender, or blitz in a free-standing blender, until smooth and velvety. Return to the pan (if necessary) and reheat gently. Add a little more stock if it seems too thick. Taste, add more salt and pepper as needed, then serve, trickled with a little extra virgin oil, if you like.

Variation

Spring nettle soup

You can use fresh young nettle tops in this soup, either in place of the spinach, or instead of the parsley/watercress. Use just the tenderest leaves at the top of the nettles, and remove any tough stalks. Give the leaves a good wash (wearing rubber gloves!) then add to the pan, with the other greens if using.

Six ways to soup it up

  • Add a good squeeze of orange juice to the puréed soup; finish with grated orange zest.
  • Sprinkle over some toasted flaked almonds.
  • Add flakes of smoked fish – hot-smoked mackerel is ideal.
  • Drop a generous sprinkling of chopped chives on to the soup.
  • Nasturtium or rocket flowers look beautiful and add peppery flavour.
  • Add a freshly poached egg before you tuck in.

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