“Skinny-But-Creamy” Any Salad Hot or Cold Soup

This recipe is so simple, quick but gives a stunning summery result. Great as hot or cold as a starter, lunch or a main and its healthy too – the only calories are from the small amount of low fat cream cheese.



We love salad. So versatile, you can really get inventive with combinations. We even grow a bit of it ourselves, currently (early May) we have Micro Radish Salad ready for eating, and Pea Shoots too. You can’t beat the home-grown, the taste is completely different. But the problem is always what to do with the leftovers, or the “over grow” when you just need to cut some and it won’t last?

The idea for a Salad Soup started. It had to be “Souper Adaptable” so that you can use any salad you may have left over, need to use or need to cut. We wanted a make-ahead dish that could be eaten anytime, hot or cold. So, this is what we came up with! The rules are pretty simple, keep it green, you need some leafy, some stalky, some herby but all of it green. You can vary the amounts of each salad component, and you can use salad that is a bit limp, or a bit over what you would serve in a bowl (but not too far). Don’t over boil it and you will keep a nice bright colour.

And most of all – experiment!


Ingredients

1 x Little Gem / Butterhead / Cos or ½ Romaine type lettuce or ¼ an iceberg

6 - 10 Celery Sticks, with or without the leaves

½ a large Cucumber

2- 3 Parsley / Basil stalks or a handful of chives

1 - 2 x Cups small leaf salad e.g. Pea Shoots, Lambs Lettuce, Rocket, or bagged “baby leaf” salad

2 x Vegetable stock cubes or pots

1 litre hot water

125g Cream Cheese – Low fat if you wish

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Optional:

A swirl of crème fraiche in the centre of the bowl to serve if you want to add some indulgence.


Method


1. Make up the stock with the hot water and set to one side to cool.

2. Wash and rough chop the lettuce, celery, herbs, and cucumber, into about 1cm pieces and place into the pan.

3. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan with the olive oil.

4. Over a low heat wilt down the salad in the pan, until you see the wilting and can start to smell the garlic.

5. Add the stock and cream cheese, stir through and leave over a low heat with the lid off.

6. Set aside a few of the small leaves, chop the rest and add to the pan, stirring as you go.

7. Bring just to the boil slowly, and turn off, leaving in the pan with the lid off to cool.

8. Once cold, blend in a smoothie blender or with a stick blender. Check the seasoning and add pepper if you wish (watch the salt as you have used stock cubes).

9. Refrigerate until you are ready to use either hot or cold. If reheating, bring just to a simmer while stirring, but don’t boil hard or you will change the colour.

10. To serve bowl it up, add a swirl of crème fraiche if you wish and top with the reserved baby leaves.


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