Here we are, a week into the New Year. How’s it going? I hope everyone is getting some much needed, post-holiday rest, and perhaps some quiet time with a cozy blanket and a good book (my favorite combination).
It would be so helpful if healthy meals could appear out of thin air on cold, gray, early January days. I’m working on that (note to self: re-read Harry Potter books for magic research). In the meantime, I have a recipe that comes pretty close in the simple, convenient, and completely comforting category.
It’s my Healthy, Easy, and Creamy Spinach Artichoke Soup.
This soup is a riff on classic spinach artichoke dip, but without the heaviness of cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheese and oil. Instead, I created the creamy base from pureed white beans and added in a minor heap of (easily accessible) vegetables. As a result, this soup is:
- High in Protein (11+ grams per serving)
- High in Fiber
- Low in Sugar
- Low in Calories (181 calories per 1 and 1/2 cup serving)
It’s also incredibly convenient (made from pantry and freezer ingredients) & frugal, both of which are high on my January meals priority list.
Here’s what you will need to make it:
Pictured above are two 15-ounce cans of rinsed & drained white beans (I used cannellini, which are extra creamy, but use what you prefer), 3 large cloves garlic, 1 medium onion (quartered), a 14-ounce can of drained artichoke hearts (water-packed, not marinated), dried herbs (I used herbes de Provence, you can also use Italian herbs), and 9 ounces frozen chopped spinach.
In a blender, puree the drained beans, onion, garlic, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper with 3 cups water. This forms the creamy, flavorful base (no oil or sautéing required).
Pour the puree into a large saucepan and place on the stove. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture just begins to boil, Immediately turn down the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The key here is to cook the onion and garlic and meld the flavors. The soup will also begin to thicken.
Add the spinach, stirring until blended. You can use a 9-ounce box of chopped frozen spinach, or a 12-ounce bag. Is using the latter, simply eyeball about 3/4 of the package to “measure” 9 ounces.
I prefer to thaw the spinach and drain off some of the excess spinach water before adding to the soup. It speeds things along (and also prevent the soup from turning green). I have guidelines for adding fresh spinach (see the recipe notes) if that’s your preference.
Add 1 more cup of liquid to the soup along with the spinach. I use plain nondairy milk, but water can also be used.
Last, add the artichokes. I like some chunkiness in my soup, hence my rough chop:
Chop the artichokes as rough or fine as you prefer. Keep an eye out for any rogue tough pieces. You can spot them because they will be harder to chop. No one needs that much roughage in the New Year. Toss them before stirring the rest of the artichokes into the soup.
Heat the soup through for at least another 5 minutes and then season (generously!) with more salt and pepper to taste.
One last (optional) reommendation:stir in about 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of apple cider vinegar (or any light-colored vinegar). Lemon juice works, too. This is a little soup trick you can use in homemade soups of all kinds. The acidity instantly brightens and heightens the flavors of the soup.
Enjoy the soup and stay cozy!
Creamy, healthy and easy-to-prepare spinach artichoke soup, made with pureed white beans. It is naturally vegan, gluten-free, high in protein, & low in calories.
- 2 15-ounce (425 g) cans white beans (e.g., cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
- 1 medium onion, ends trimmed, quartered
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons (12 mL) Italian herb blend or herbs de Provence
- fine sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 cups (750 mL) water
- 1 9-ounce (255 g) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
- 1 14-ounce (397 g) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 cup nondairy milk OR water
- Optional (but highly recommended): 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or other light vinegar)
- In a blender, puree the drained beans, onion, garlic, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper with the 3 cups water. Blend until completely smooth.
- Pour the puree into a large saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture just begins a low boil, Immediately turn down the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until soup thickens slightly.
- Stir in the milk and spinach until blended, then stir in the artichokes. Cook and stir for at least 5 minutes longer to blend the flavors.
- Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and (optional) stir in the vinegar (this brightens the flavors of the soup). Serve!
Spinach Options: (1) use 3/4 of a 12-ounce bag of frozen spinach instead of a 9-ounce package; (2) Use 8 to 9 ounces fresh spinach that has been coarsely chopped.
Cheesey Option: Add some nutritional yeast to the soup in step 1 (blender). Add anywhere from 2 tablespoons (30 mL) to 1/3 cup (75 mL). This will also add a protein boost.
- Serving Size: 1.5 cups
- Calories: 181
- Sugar: 4.5 g
- Sodium: 432 mg
- Fat: 1.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.6 g
- Fiber: 9.5 g
- Protein: 11.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg