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  • Writer's picture Natalie Budnyk

I Call It "Green Soup"

Farmers markets are magical places. My personal favorite is the Union Square Greenmarket because of their huge selection. I think I spend more time there taking photos of the giant stacks of root vegetables and cute bumble bees flying around the flower vendors than I do actually buying food, but that's the joy of it all (scroll down to see some of these photos).

The best part about getting produce from the source is that the vegetables are usually still attached to their leaves. Once I realized this, I set out on an attempt to use all the parts of the vegetables in my next food prep. I was very affronted when the man ringing up my carrots and onions during this mission asked me if I wanted the leaves removed. "How dare you?! They're food too!" I yelled internally. "No thank you," I said out loud. I don't think I will ever say "yes" to that question now that I've made the commitment to this style of cooking. It's tastier and, usually, more nutritious!

Below is my favorite way to live that no-waste life and also low key cleanse (cilantro, garlic, and ginger are very good for pulling toxins out of your hot bod). The first time I made this recipe I used onion greens instead of beet greens, three small white onions instead of the ginger, and left out the cilantro. It was truly the fanciest French Onion soup I had ever had. You'll see the beauty of this soup is that you can use any leaves you have and adjust/replace the ginger, garlic, and herbs to your liking. I was going for a subtle Vietnamese inspired flavor profile in the below. Some other greens you could use are chard, leeks or mustard greens. The three of those would actually be amazing with just the garlic (no cilantro or ginger), some sautéed yellow onion blended in, and a little bit of creme fraiche on top. Friggen yum, man.

Green Soup

Beet Greens (from 1 bunch of beets)

Carrot Tops (from 1 bunch of carrots)

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 two inch piece of ginger

4 cloves of garlic

1 tsp black pepper (or more if you love black pepper like I do)

1 cup cilantro

1 tbs butter

2 yellow onions

In a large soup pot (with a lid), bring the chicken stock to a boil. Meanwhile, tear beet greens away from the red stalks and into smallish pieces (about 2x2 inches works well). Discard the red stalks. Hold the bundle of carrot tops away from you over a large cutting board or a bowl, and run a chef's knife down the bundle (in a downward motion, away from you) to shave the tender stems and leaves off of the stalks. Discard the stalks along with any thick stems that made their way into your pile of leaves. Peel the ginger by scraping the side of a spoon across the skin, and smash the garlic cloves with the back of your kine to remove their skin. Give the garlic and ginger a rough chop (none of these pieces should be larger than gaming dice. Yahtzee!). Add all of these elements (beet leaves, carrot leaves, ginger and garlic) into the boiling chicken stock. Cover and simmer on medium low until beet greens are tender (about 15 minutes).

Turn off the heat, and carefully blend the mixture with an emersion blender until extremely smooth and uniform in color. Remove cilantro from the stalks using the same technique that you used for the carrot leaves (Try not to go too hard here. You want to keep the oils inside the leaves, not on your cutting board). Discard the stalks and add the cilantro into the pot with the black pepper. Blend the mixture one last time until the cilantro is incorporated.

Slice your onions into thin, one inch strips. In a nonstick pan, melt the butter and add your sliced onions. Cook on medium low, moving the onions around frequently with a rubber spatula so they do not burn. Once they are translucent and a little browned, turn off the heat.

To plate, scoop your green soup into four bowls and drop a healthy serving of onions into each bowl. A grilled cheese, cut into triangles for dipping, is a great addition to make this a meal!



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