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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Quick and Easy Cream of Any Green Soup -- Great For Those Throwaway Greens

This is an excellent use for throwaway greens like radish tops, celery leaves, beet or turnip greens, broccoli stalks/stems (peel first), or excess garden kale, broccoli, chard -- those green vegetables that either you seem to have no use for or that have always been "throwaways". I even use leafy greens that are about to go to seed and the tender stems from leafy greens we use in salads, like spinach stems.

extra ingredients that make the
soup thicker and more palatable

What I use:  
(yields about 4 cups)

about 2 quarts of greens, washed and chopped
½ an onion, chopped
vegetable oil
3 cups water
2  1/2 to 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon (sub seasoned homemade chicken or veggie stock for bouillon and water)
⅔ to 1 cup of instant mashed potato flakes
butter (about 2 tablespoons)

Sauté the onion in oil until translucent. Add the chopped greens and cook until limp. Add water, bouillon, bring to a boil. Add instant potatoes and stir. Remove from heat and purée until smooth. (I use an immersion blender. A pitcher blender or food processor would also work well.) Stir in butter. Adjust seasonings. Add salt and pepper, if desired. Thin with water or stock as needed.

Depending on the types of greens used, I may add a dash of nutmeg and/or Parmesan cheese, or top with bacon or ham bits.

You'll notice that there's no milk in this "cream of" soup. I'm lactose intolerant. This soup can be made vegan by subbing margarine or olive oil for the butter and veggie stock/bouillon for chicken bouillon. 

Instant potato flakes are great for quickly thickening soups. Leftover cooked mashed potatoes could be subbed -- reduce the water by ½ cup and use about 1 to 1½ cups of cooked, mashed potatoes.

When I use chunkier veggies, like chopped broccoli, I cook the chunky ones for about 5 to 10 minutes (until tender) with the onion before adding any leafy veggies. 

Even though this soup will be puréed, it's important to chop the veggies before adding to the pot to avoid any stringiness.

Come with me out to the garden while I pick some throwaway greens for today's soup:

The sorrel stalks are growing tall. I'll pick the tender leaves off of the tough stalks before I cut the plants back.

I harvested a dozen or so large leaves from the sorrel.

Next to the sorrel is the patch of garlic that I grow for the greens. (Okay, truth time -- several years ago I missed several bulbs of garlic when harvesting. The plants are now dense, so I harvest the leaves and curly scapes.)

I added a fistful of garlic leaves to the basket.

Lots of chives right now. I might as well use some.

I cut a bunch of chives and added those to the basket.

Up to the deck, next. This is one of the pots of baby spinach that I've been harvesting to go in our gourmet salad blends. See those stems with no leaves still on the plants? I'll use scissors to clip those out.

The spinach stems are still tender. I'll chop them to add to the soup.

I've been using the radish greens growing in the hanging baskets to add to salads. Radishes are fast growers and go to seed quickly. I'll clip a bunch of radish greens before they've fully gone to seed.

I saved the celery tops from several stalks when cooking over the weekend. I'll use those in today's soup.

So, this is what I've got for this pot of soup. I pressed it all down and it looks like about 2 quarts of leafy greens. It looks like an odd assortment, but it will make delicious soup. The strongest flavor in this batch is the sorrel -- a bit lemony. After cooking, I'll add a couple of pinches of nutmeg. Should be delicious!


  1. That looks delicious and very nutritious. I've never had garlic leaves. Do they have a garlicky taste?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      The garlic leaves do taste like mild garlic. The soup was good and packed with our daily greens.

    2. Sometimes, garlic is too strong for me. Maybe the leaves would be just right to season with. My sister is growing a bumper crop of garlic. I think I'll ask her for some leaves.

  2. You have so many greens! My mom taught me the mashed potato flake trick for thickening soups. Especially when I am making soup in the crockpot and want to thicken it, I find it handy, more so than a cornstarch or flour slurry. I think it works better because the crockpot temperature isn't as hot as the stovetop?

    1. Hi Kris,
      I think you're right about the temp and crockpots for using cornstarch or flour. Potato flakes don't need the high heat to thicken, so they work well in crockpots.
      We do have a lot of greens, here. It's the cool spring climate that prolongs usable leafy greens in our garden.
      Have a great day!


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