My husband and I were recently in Las Vegas wasting money everywhere except Thomas Keller’s restaurant, Bouchon at the Venetian, where we had the most amazing spinach soup. I love spinach, and was surprised after eating the silky, rich tasting, and intensely green puree, to realize that I’d never eaten spinach quite like that before. In fact, I’ve never even thought about it.
So with pureed spinach on my dieting brain, I came across Ben’s site, What’s Cooking Mexico? and his recipe for “Spinach Avocado Soup.” Now, I love avocados, too, but I’ve never thought of them being anywhere except raw in a salad, guacamole, or halved in my hand with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and a sprinkle of salt, ready to enjoy with a spoon. I was immediately curious. The only problem was, I had everything except the avocados so had to wait until the next day to try it.
It was challenging to find a ripe avocado , so thought I might have to put off trying the recipe a few more days. Waiting for an avocado to ripen can feel a bit like watching paint dry even after the old “put it in a bag with an apple” trick has been employed. I must have gently squeezed 50 of the bumpy blackish morsels before I found a couple I could take a risk with — and at $4.00 apiece, they’re quite high in price. Since the recipe indicated they would be going into a pan to cook for a bit, then put into the Cuisinart, I didn’t think they needed to be overly soft so took the risk.
If you’re one who is thinking….spinach? And avocados? How green is that going to be? Please take a deep breath. Open your mind. Allow the possibilities of incredible flavor to permeate the recesses of your food proclivities. No? Well, what if you trusted me and kept reading — considered stepping out of your comfort zone. My husband did. Even though he enjoys both spinach and avocados, his first comment after looking in the pan while it was heating was, “That’s really green.”
“Yes, dear. Go ahead and taste it and let me know what you think it needs.”
“What are my choices?” he asked, staring in the pot.
“There are no choices. Just tell me what you’d add,” I prodded just to see what he’d come up with and already wondering about cumin, or chili, or…
“Salt,” he concluded, as if that was something that isn’t added to adjust the flavor of any dish I make.
“Thanks, honey,” I responded, thinking I shouldn’t try to expect a different exchange.
Interested? It’s such an easy recipe that is also deceptively creamy without the dairy that normally goes into a soup like this.
- 1 lg. pkg. fresh baby spinach, about 10 oz.
- 2 lg. cloves garlic
- 2 T. minced shallot
- 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
- 2 c. hot vegetable broth
- 2 oz. goat’s cheese
- Juice of ½ lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Salsa Ingredients
- 1 c. chopped tomatoes
- 2 chopped green onions
- Juice of ½ lime
- Salt to taste
- Toss the salsa ingredients in a small bowl and lightly season, then set aside until serving.
- To make the soup, in a large sauce pan, saute garlic and shallots in the olive oil for about a minute to soften.
- Add spinach and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally as the spinach wilts.
- Add avocado to the spinach, stirring gently to heat, then add the hot vegetable broth. Stir to blend.
- Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
- Add goat’s cheese and blend well.
- Pour puree into a saucepan and heat gently until just beginning to bubble. Squeeze in lime juice and stir.
- Adjust seasonings and serve by spooning a bit of the salsa into a bowl, then pouring the soup around.
- My husband’s first comment was immediate: “This is really, really good,” and I agreed. The color and texture are amazing.
- If you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular blender or food processor will do to blend the ingredients to a nice puree.
- The first time I made this, I added crushed red pepper and some diced red onions to mine, which made for a very nice crunch and some spice. For this update of one of our favorite easy recipes, I added the simple salsa which can be just about anything you’d like it to be — diced peppers and/or cucumber would be great. The soup is so good by itself, you don’t have to add the salsa, but it does add a pleasant dimension to the dish — especially if this is the only thing on the menu for the evening.
- All things considered, this is a very healthy soup as well. It’s full of mono-saturated fat good for your heart and wonderful vegetables.
- If you don’t want to add the goat’s cheese, then experiment with other types of cheese such as Feta, or Parmesan. You might also crumble cheese into the salsa instead of blending it into the soup, or omit the cheese completely to create a vegan dish.
- This post was updated 5/30/12 to correct old links and load new photos.