You’ve never had mustard greens soup this delicious and creamy. Cooked with spinach and a hint of spices, it is full of flavor and good nutrition. This healthy comforting soup makes a great lunch or starter for a meal.
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Mustard Greens and Spinach Soup
Mustard greens are an amazingly nutritious leafy vegetable. But most mustard greens recipes are pretty boring and are often just steamed or sautéed. We solve this problem with a few culinary tricks and adding a hint of spices.
First we cook it with lots of spinach, which adds more green nutrition, taste and a smooth texture. Then we choose savory spices with floral, earthy or citrusy tones, such as cumin, coriander and turmeric. Just a hint of these spices is enough to elevate the taste of these greens.
Mustard greens are pretty pungent, which makes it less acceptable. To make these greens more pleasing, we must use some basic culinary tricks. The pungency can be lowered by using heat and appropriate amounts of fat and seasonings, including salt.
Cooking mellows the pungency of mustard greens, while also softening its’ coarse texture. However, we don’t want to overcook the greens, or we lose the color and nutrients. So we choose tender and young mustard greens, so that they are easier to cook.
A squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar also works well with mustard greens, but because this soup is milk based, I have skipped that. If you make this soup with coconut milk, try a drizzle of lemon juice on top.
So now we have a super creamy green soup that is wonderfully nutritious and delicious. This phytochemical rich, immunity-supporting and flavor-packed soup is also vegetarian. And you can make it in less than 30 minutes, including the prep time.
What is in This Green Soup?
- Mustard Greens: I chose organic, young and tender mustard greens. This is much easier to cook and less pungent than the more mature variety. Be sure to trim off the touch stems. Best substitute for these greens, would be kale.
- Spinach: We use fresh baby spinach. It is easily available and gives a delicate texture and taste. However, regular spinach will also work. To substitute with frozen spinach, follow the package instructions, but in general 5 ounces frozen spinach should work for this recipe.
- Aromatics: I use fresh onions, garlic and ginger. Sautéing these will add a nice aroma and also lower the pungency. If you don’t like spicy taste, then skip the ginger or replace it with more garlic.
- Spices: Spices with earthy, floral or citrusy notes will work the best for this green soup. For this I chose cumin, coriander, turmeric and paprika. Sweet and aromatic spices such as cinnamon and cardamom are too intense.
- Thickeners: I use potatoes to add body and creaminess to the soup, while keep a fresh vegetarian taste. Toasting flour with butter and cooking it with milk also give you the same result, but with a richer flavor. You can use both these methods as I do here. Or just increase the potatoes or the flour/butter mixture.
- Milk: We need full fat milk for this, because mustard greens needs fat to balance the pungency and coarser texture. If using plant based milk, choose full fat coconut milk or alternative rich milk.
How to Make Spinach and Mustard Greens Soup
- Cook Aromatics: Saute onions, garlic and ginger. Add potatoes and cook.
- Spices: Add turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika and cook until fragrant.
- Greens: Next add mustard greens and sauté. Add chopped spinach and cook the greens until wilted.
- Thickening: Cook flour with butter. Whisk in milk and cook.
- Soup: To the greens, add the thickened milk, salt and adjust to taste. Blend the mixture until pureed and heat it once again. Top with cream, olive oil and black pepper or red pepper flakes and serve.
Do not overcook the greens. This will help retain the color, flavor and nutrients.
Heat the soup carefully after adding the milk. Do not let it boil.
Blend the cooked greens in batches for 2 to 3 minutes at high speed. Fill the blender to less than half capacity and vent in between to release the steam. Immersion blender will give you a soup with some texture.
How To Serve The Soup
- With bread: Try it with honey wheat rolls, zaatar parmesan bread, barbari bread.
- Cream: Top it with a dollop of fresh cream, creme fraiche or sour cream.
- You can chop up the greens and refrigerate couple days ahead.
- The cooked soup will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Leftovers can be frozen for 2 months.
- Thaw and reheat. If it loses, some of its creamy texture, add some corn starch slurry and cook it.
This mustard greens and spinach soup is vegetarian, nut free, egg free and soy free.
- Gluten free: Skip the flour and increase the potatoes. Or use gluten free flour or corn starch to thicken the soup.
- Vegan/Dairy Free: Use full fat plant based milk such as coconut milk. Use coconut cream if needed. You can also increase the fat content of the milk by blending it with walnuts as we do it for making this rich hot chocolate drink.
- High Protein: Top it with sautéed or grilled halloumi cheese, Indian paneer or tofu.
- Flavor Twist: Add some celery, leeks or fennel to the Soup. Saute any of these with the potatoes.
Cook the mustard greens just until they become tender and still retain a vibrant color. The time to cook can vary depending on how mature the leaves are. Baby mustard greens will cook much faster.
In general cook greens just until they turn soft and tender while still retaining a vibrant color. And this is usually between 5 to 10 minutes of cooking time.
Adding a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water also makes it alkaline and helps retain the green color, but this is usually not necessary. For the soup here, we just watched the cooking time, giving us a bright green soup that retained its’ lovely color even after reheating a few times.
Mustard greens belong to the brassica family of vegetables, known for their nutrition potential. Also known as cruciferous vegetables, they include broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower.
These greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and supports bone health. As a significant source of antioxidant nutrients such as, vitamin A and vitamin C, these leafy greens are known for disease fighting properties. And they also provide folic acid, manganese and calcium.
Further, regular consumption of mustard greens has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. They are a good source of sulfur containing compounds - glucosinolates, which are converted to cancer fighting isothiocyanates. Finally, research studies have shown that cooked mustard greens have an enhanced ability to bind bile, thereby lowering cholesterol levels.
Mustard greens are low in calories and packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and protective phytochemicals.
They provide relatively lower amounts of flavonoids such as Kaempferol (~80% of kale), Isorhamnetin (~70% of kale) and Quercetin (~40% of kale). However, they are also far lower in calories (~58% of kale). And per cup, these greens actually provide slightly more calcium and protein.
Rather, the point I am trying to make, is that we must make sure that the great variety of nutritious foods of the planet earth must make it to our table. Because, that’s when we enjoy the benefits of a wholesome diet.
More Greens Recipes
- Spinach Egg Stuffed Mushrooms
- Leeks and Avocado Soup
- Kuku Sabzi (Persian herbs and eggs)
- Kale Quinoa Salad (with lentils)
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Mustard Greens Soup With Spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger or garlic
- 1 medium potato peeled and cubed
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups mustard greens thick stems trimmed, finely chopped, 3 oz
- 8 cups spinach thick stems trimmed, chopped, 8 oz
- 2 tablespoons butter optional
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour optional
- 3 cups milk full fat, or rich plant based milk
- ¾ teaspoon salt adjust per taste
- 2 tablespoons cream optional
- buttered croutons, sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, mild red pepper flakes or black pepper
- In a cooking pot, heat olive oil at medium high. Add chopped onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and ginger. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add diced potatoes and cook for 2 minutes.Then add turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander and paprika. Stir and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Next add chopped mustard greens and sauté until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Add chopped spinach and continue to cook the greens until wilted, about 5 minutes. Tip: Do not overcook the greens, which will help retain the bright color.
- In a skillet, melt the butter at medium heat. Add flour and cook until very lightly toasted, stirring continuously, about 2 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking until well combined. Cook the mixture until thickened, stirring in between, about 2 minutes.
- Add the thickened milk to the cooked greens. Stir in salt and adjust to taste. Transfer the mixture to a high speed blender and blend until pureed, about 3 minutes. Tip: The mustard greens are tougher than spinach, so blending them to a smooth consistency will take a few minutes.
- Pour the creamy soup back into the cooking pot and quickly heat it. Tip: Do not simmer for too long, because the greens will overcook or the soup may boil over.
- Transfer the soup to a serving dish. Drizzle with cream, olive oil and sprinkle freshly ground black pepper or mild red pepper flakes. You can also top with buttered croutons. Serve the soup immediately with bread or corn chips.
- Less spicy or pungent: Mustard greens are pungent. To make the soup less spicy, skip ginger or replace with garlic.
- Thickening the soup: You can thicken the soup just with 2 potatoes or toasting ¼ cup flour with 4 tablespoons butter. Alternatively, you can use both the methods as we did here. To make it gluten free skip the flour or use gluten free flour or corn starch.
- Blending: Be careful while blending the soup. Blend the mixture in batches, filling the blender less than half capacity. And vent in between to release the steam or remove the feeder lid and cover with a kitchen towel.
- Frozen Vegetables: You may use frozen greens instead of fresh greens and follow the package instructions for suitable substitutions.
- Meal Prep/Storage: Chop the greens and refrigerate couple days ahead. The cooked soup will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Leftovers can be frozen for 2 months. Thaw and reheat. If it loses, some of its creamy texture, add some corn starch slurry and cook it.
- For more information on ingredients, variations and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
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This post was first published on April 11, 2017 and has been updated with improvements in pictures, tips, FAQs and additional enhancements.