That’s right, I said lettuce soup. When I told my kids I was making lettuce soup, they thought I was crazy, because who in their right mind cooks lettuce? It’s certainly not the first ingredient that comes to mind when making soup, but it’s pleasantly refreshing, deliciously savory and beautifully bright green.
My inspiration for making this soup comes from chef and cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. Her cookbook, Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook, is full of practical and easy-going recipes made with common ingredients from the supermarket, farmers’ market, or pantry, which is why I love it so much. It’s a great go-to book loaded with instant classics, and is very inspirational. I knew I wanted to make soup, but was looking for something a bit different and unexpected. She has a lot of great soup recipes in this book, but as soon as I saw her recipe for lettuce soup, I knew my search was over.
The recipe is the ultimate compilation of early spring produce, celebrating tender greens and alliums. The base for the recipe starts off with gently sautéing scallions, shallots, onions and celery until tender (yes, my eyes were totally watering). If this wasn’t amazing enough, the next step is to add minced garlic, which made my house smell incredible.
I then added some parsley leaves for an herbal note, and moistened the pot with vegetable stock, but you can use chicken stock if preferred. Let this simmer for 10 minutes, and then add the lettuce. When you first add the greens, it seems like it’s way too many, but they will wilt and cook down so don’t worry.
The soup will also look like a bit pale colored at first, but when you blend it thoroughly it transforms into a beautiful and vibrant green. Season it with salt, pepper and lemon juice and you have yourself a hyper seasonal spring soup that’s healthy, vegetarian, quick, easy to prepare, delicious and beautiful.
My kids were very skeptical when faced with a bowl of this soup because they are not big fans of lettuce to begin with, but they ended up liking it! Delilah said it tasted like peas and Jake said it tasted like asparagus… more spring produce! So, even if you have weary lettuce eaters in your household, don’t shy away from making this soup.
Romaine and Butter Lettuce Soup
Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 6 servings
Active time: 40 minutes
Start to finish: 55 minutes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 onion, medium dice
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable stock
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced crosswise
1 head Boston or butter lettuce, sliced
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh mint, rough chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat, and add the olive oil. Gently sauté the scallions, shallots, onions and celery until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, and cook an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the parsley leaves and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the parsley leaves and add the lettuces. Cook until the lettuce has wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree the soup until silky and smooth. Season the soup with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
6. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon zest and mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with a dollop of the yogurt.
If our chilly spring weather has you craving spring flavors but also wanting something that’s warm and comforting, then our Virtual Cook Along: Spring Soups Workshop is the class for you. It’s the perfect combination of celebrating the arrival of a new season while keeping us warm on these below-average days. Join us virtually on Sunday, April 24 from 11am-1pm, and we’ll teach you how to prepare Cream of Mushroom Soup, Spring Minestrone with Leeks and Fennel, and Shrimp Chowder with Peas and Asparagus. You can choose to make all three recipes in class or pick the ones that you like. Either way, you’ll have a great time learning new techniques and recipes celebrating the new season.