Basic Green Soup

13 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine September/October 2011

This chard and spinach soup gets complex flavor from slowly cooked onions and lemon juice, while a sprinkle of rice gives it body and a velvety texture. Serve with a swirl of fruity, fragrant extra-virgin olive oil for richness. Recipe by Anna Thomas for EatingWell.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 bunch green chard (about 1 pound)
  • 14 cups gently packed spinach (about 12 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
  • Big pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 cups water and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven; add rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard (save for another use, such as to add to a stir-fry or other soup). Coarsely chop the chard greens and spinach.
  3. When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, stir in the chard greens. Return to a simmer; cover and cook for 10 minutes. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the rice along with the spinach, broth and cayenne. Return to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once, until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until perfectly smooth or in a regular blender in batches (return it to the pot). Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 (omitting the lemon), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Season with lemon just before serving.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1 1/4 cups
  • Per serving: 95 calories; 4 g fat(1 g sat); 3 g fiber; 13 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 63 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 6906 IU vitamin A; 24 mg vitamin C; 85 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 759 mg sodium; 425 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (148% daily value), Vitamin C (40% dv), Magnesium (20% dv), Folate (16% dv).
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat

Reviews 13

October 20, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
I have a question, the recipe calls for 14 cups gently packed spinach (about 12 ounces), any tough stems trimmed but 12 ounces seems much less than 14 cups. Does it really call for 14 cups? Many thanks
January 16, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
It IS easy being green! I used red chard and got everything going- but held off until the very end to add the vegetable broth. Excellent stuff.You can add all sorts of goodies, or just drizzle a swirl of oil, as shown in their photo. I used garlic infused oil and three grilled shrimp. Pros: Lovely rich flavor and a great canvas base for others.... Cons: Best if you have an immersion blender.
January 11, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Actually, I have a question. Should the rice be cooked before or not?
January 09, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
KICK IT UP! My wife and I made this for the first time the other night. Since we already had a bunch of flat leaf parsely and a bunch of cilantro we added those to a mix of fresh kale and baby spinach. We make a spinach tortellini soup that uses a whole bulb of minced garlic and it's awesome so next time we make this green soup we plan to add a whole bulb of minced garlic and add one more onion to boost the flavor. And perhaps another 1/4 cup of rice for a little more thickening. But our first batch of soup was so good we nearly ate it all, drizzled with fresh EVOO and a side of toasted Pumpernickel bread. Pros: Easy to modify
January 07, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Amazing! This will be a new staple for sure. I was dubious that it would taste great with such few and pungent ingredients; but it really is sweet and savory.
May 14, 2012
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By: Kristinrt
I made this using kale and spinach. I also added some mushrooms to the onion mixture after it had cooked down most of the way. Delicious!
March 22, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
BEST SOUP EVER! I love this soup. I call it happy soup because it makes my senses soar and my body feel amazing... I actually feel happier during and after eating it. Filling, high in fiber and low-calorie to boot! Tastes great cold too, so I can still eat it in the summer. I love spicy foods so I add extra cayenne. I have never distributed a recipe as often as I have this one. Thank you Anna Thomas & Eating Well! Pros: Delicious, low-calorie, smells amazing, rich in vitamins
February 08, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
delicious soup! I agree with the reviewer who said the soup was better next day, I did like it the night before, but for lunch on Day 2, the flavor was much deeper. I want this to be thicker/creamier, so next time I'll use less broth (probably greens can vary in water content, too) and may use more rice or a different starch to thicken. Kids liked theirs with shredded cheddar on top. Pros: easy to make, healthy, kid-friendly Cons: watch the broth/water addition
December 27, 2011
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By: EatingWell User
Flexible, Delicious, and Freeze-able I've made this soup several times now, usually with variations. The spinach is absolutely necessary for the sweetness. I used kale instead of chard and it made it slightly more bitter. When using greens from our CSA there's a bit of prep time because if you're using something like kale, you have to clean and get out the fibrous stems. Making it the first time is the hardest because of the two pots going at the same time, but after that, it's easy. I use an immersion blender which saves on the cleaning and I highly recommend it instead of a food processor (why make more dishes to clean?). This soup freezes really well, especially into numerous small bowls to grab to take to work for lunch to be microwaved. I also highly recommend a swirl of plain yogurt or sour cream. It adds a bit to the calories and fat, and makes the soup not vegan, but it makes the soup much heartier--a true meal by itself--and gives it a silky texture. Pros: Can Be Frozen, Flexible for some Ingredients Cons: Makes a lot of dirty pots and pans; high prep time if you buy loose greens