Two days ago I made this soup for the first time. Today, I made it again. It’s so perfectly light yet creamy and satisfying, with an amazing hint of garlic that really ties it all together. Plus, it’s a delicious and nutritious way to use up the giant bag of fresh spinach in your fridge, which is incidentally where I got the inspiration for it.
The soup uses ghee and homemade mayo, which are new staples in my home. I do all kinds of fun things with them!
Ghee is simple to make and is mostly hands off. I just put a block of butter in a small pan, turn the heat on medium and let it go until the solids have turned a rich golden brown. Then I strain it in a reusable cheesecloth (which I highly recommend!) and store it in the fridge once it’s only warm and not hot. I like the texture of how it sets in the fridge while still warm. If it is allowed to cool to room temperature and then put in the fridge, it acquires a grainy consistency. Use unsalted butter for best results.
Ghee is also an amazing flavorful treat to use in place of regular butter. Because of the browned milk solids, it tastes just like browned butter, but is actually pure oil. Because of this, ghee is probably the best oil for baking or cooking, since it stands up to high heat without breaking down as easily as many other oils. It’s also great for people with sensitivities to dairy, since the milk solids are strained out.
Homemade mayo is intimidating to a lot of people, but it’s not really so complicated. Plus, it lasts a lot longer than you’d think. You can store it in the fridge for about two weeks, actually. It’s creamy and delightful, though perhaps a bit too garlicky to eat on it’s own. My favorite application is to mix with a spicy homemade ketchup to use as a dip or on a salad, though I can see the garlic mayo working beautifully on a grilled or cold sandwich.
If you aren’t up for making some homemade garlic mayo for this soup, get creative and try something else. Make sure to add the garlic at the end for the same, punchy garlic effect. You could try adding freshly pressed garlic, garlic paste, or even a fresh garlic powder.
Whether you try homemade garlic mayo or your own adaptations to this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you!
Spinach Garlic Soup
Yield 4-5 Cups
This creamy yet light soup is packed with nutrients and comforting, savory goodness. Decadence comes from the generous helping of ghee, with its hint of browned butter. A dollop of garlic mayo ties everything together like a flavor bridge to soup heaven.
- 1 large sweet onion, roughly diced (~180g, 1 1/2 C)
- 3-4 stalks celery, roughly diced with leaves if still attached or down to the center of the head (~150g, 1 1/2-2 C)
- 1 medium potato, diced with skin on (~150-175g, 1-1 1/2 C)
- 3 stalks green onion (~75g, 1 C)
- 5-8 oz fresh spinach (~140-226g)
- Optional veggies: 1 C chopped zucchini or 1/2 C chopped asparagus
- 2-3 Tbs ghee or butter
- 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste (if using salted butter, consider adding only 1/4 tsp salt at first)
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- garlic mayo*
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add 1 Tbs ghee, the onion, and the celery. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
- Add in potato, green onion, salt, pepper, nutmeg and zucchini or asparagus if using it. Asparagus is a somewhat strong flavor, which is why I recommend less.
- Add water until veggies are just covered. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Boil gently until potatoes are fork tender.
- Once the other veggies are cooked, add spinach in handfuls. There's not much liquid, and it will seem like it won't fit, but just stuff it down into the liquid with whatever utensil you're using, and I promise it will fit. Spinach cooks down really well.
- Leave on the heat for another 3 minutes or so, until the spinach stalks are tender.
- Blend. For a smoother puree, use a stand blender. An immersion blender works fine, but it won't get quite as creamy.
- Pour back into the pot. Add another tablespoon of ghee and stir in. Taste. Add more ghee or a dash of salt if needed.
- Now, here's the final and most important touch. Garlic mayo.
- Not everyone likes a lot of garlic, so you could leave this out altogether, but I find it ties everything together. This is really to taste, but I recommend starting with 1 Tbs, stirring it in and tasting, and adding another 1 Tbs or more, until your tastebuds are satisfied. But garlic shouldn't be the only flavor in the end.
- The mayo is really nice to just add individually to each serving. Start with a tiny dollop, as it's quite strong. Each person can add their mayo to taste. Or it can be swirled just a bit for a nice presentation. Plus, if there is leftover soup, the chances of curdling the mayo on reheating are lessened if the mayo is added afterwards.
- If you want to add mayo to the whole soup at once, you may want to add it in during the blending part. Sometimes it doesn't get completely smooth by just stirring it in.
- **Once mayo is added, reheat gently and don't boil, as the mayo can curdle.
Garlic Mayo. It's a pretty standard mayo recipe, with the addition of a good helping of fresh garlic cloves. Inspired by Cuisinart and 40Aprons. And it makes an amazing dipping sauce or salad dressing when mixed with spicy ketchup.
In the cup of an immersion blender, add:
- 1 L egg, equivalent to 1/4 C
- 1 C cooking olive oil or other neutral-flavored oil of choice (I sometimes use 3/4 C cooking olive oil plus 1/4 C extra virgin)
- 1/2-1 Tbs fresh lemon juice (use less if using prepared mustard, more if using mustard powder)
- 1/2 Tbs dijon mustard or 2 tsp mustard powder
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
Put the head of the immersion blender over the garlic cloves and hold against the bottom of the blending cup. Blend on low for 15-20 seconds until there's a nice, thick, white layer. Blend on high, moving the head of the blender in gentle circles and up and down, for another 20-30 seconds. The point is to get all the oil from the top, down to the blades.
The most foolproof method, in my opinion, is with the immersion blender. But lots of people make this in a regular blender too. Just add in all the ingredients minus the oil, and turn on high. Very slowly, drizzle in a very thin stream of oil. Once it starts emulsifying, you can add a thicker stream of oil. Search a YouTube video if you have any doubts. That's what I would do.