Escarole and Spinach Soup

5 from 2 votes

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This escarole and spinach soup is the most delicious and satisfying way to start counteracting the indulgences of the holiday season.

Escarole and Spinach Soup / Mia / Katie Workman / themom100.com

There are many moments throughout the year, especially right after the holidays when one realizes one has been eating…a lot. And perhaps not all that healthfully. It’s time for a reset. I can think of nothing more welcome than a bowl of this clean but immensely satisfying escarole soup that manages to fill you up deliciously and still leaves you feeling light and virtuous. Use vegetable broth and skip the Parmesan, and you have a vegan soup.

An escarole soup is cleansing bracing, almost acerbic in nature. And while this soup is all of that, it’s also delicious and doesn’t feel punishing in the slightest. Escarole is a bitter green that softens in flavor when it is cooked but still has a pronounced flavor. (If you really like the bitterness, think about Escarole Salad!)

Escarole and Spinach Soup in a white bowl.

You can make it heartier by adding a cup or two of cooked whole grains. Farro, spelt, quinoa, brown rice….I think soups are a great way to play around with whole grains that you may not know as well. A low-cost, low-risk testing situation. Also, a low-risk, good-odds way of introducing more whole grains into your family’s meal situation.

The sprinkle of cheese on the top is also up to you. It is the thing that makes my kids ask for seconds, so it’s not optional as far as they are concerned. If you’re feeling proud of yourself for serving up this soup, you might think how much you deserve a slice of beer bread or cornbread to go with it.

Escarole and Spinach Soup: This is the most delicious and satisfying way to balance out some overindulgences.

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Ingredients

  • Chopped onion – Helps add depth of flavor to the soup.
  • Chopped carrot – Thickens the broth and adds a hint of sweetness.
  • Minced garlic
  • Diced tomatoes – Adds a nice, bright element to the dish.
  • Salt and pepper – To taste. I think this benefits from a very liberal hand with the peppermill, but that’s a personal preference.
  • Escarole – The pleasantly bitter, leafy greens at the center of this recipe.
  • Baby spinach – More greens, but a bit milder and softer than escarole.
  • Broth – Use vegetable or chicken broth (vegetable broth gets you to a vegan soup, as long as you skip the Parmesan). I like to use less-sodium broth to control the amount of salt in the dish.
  • Cannellini beans – To make this soup more substantial, you can add in a can of rinsed and drained white beans, such as navy or cannellini. Or cook your own beans from scratch and add those, if you prefer. Simply cooked leftover beans are also a good addition.
  • Parmesan cheese – To serve, optional.
Escarole and Spinach Soup in a pot.

How to Make Escarole and Spinach Soup

  1. Sauté the veggies: Sauté the onion, carrot, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper in a large pot until tender and golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  2. Cook the escarole: Add the escarole and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, until the escarole is wilted. Add the broth, beans (if using), and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the escarole is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add spinach: Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Adjust the seasonings.
  4. Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve hot.
Escarole and Spinach Soup in a bowl near a larger pot of the soup on a wooden surface.

Pro Cooking Tips

  • Adding the baby spinach at the end allows it to wilt but still retain some of its delicate texture.
  • You can also use roughly chopped, more mature spinach leaves. Give them an extra couple of minutes to cook down.
  • If you plan to make this soup ahead of time, add the spinach to the pot when you’ve reheated it. This will prevent the spinach from becoming too soft.

Make-Ahead and Storage

  • This soup can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and reheated over medium heat on the stove.
  • You can freeze this soup for up to 4 months, though the greens might soften even further when defrosted and reheated.

FAQs

What kills the bitterness of greens?

Cooking greens in water or broth will naturally soften the bitterness of greens like escarole.

What does escarole taste like?

Escarole is part of the Chicory family, whose main commonality is a slight bitter taste. Others in the Chicory family include endive and radicchio.

What season does escarole grow in?

Early spring or late fall is the best time to grow and harvest this vegetable. Escarole crops are partial to cooler temperatures.

What to Serve With Escarole and Spinach Soup

Escarole and Spinach Soup in a white bowl.

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5 from 2 votes

Escarole and Spinach Soup

This escarole and spinach soup is the most delicious and satisfying way to start counteracting the indulgences of the holiday season.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10 People
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 4 cups roughly chopped escarole (rinsed and excess water shaken off)
  • 4 cups less-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce can) cannellini beans (rinsed and drained; optional)
  • 1 (15-ounce can) diced tomatoes
  • 10 ounces baby spinach leaves (roughly chopped)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to serve; optional)

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the onion is tender and golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high, add the escarole, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, until the escarole is wilted. Add the broth, beans (if using), and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the escarole is tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Adjust the seasonings.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve hot.

Notes

  • This soup can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and reheated over medium heat on the stove.
  • You can freeze this soup for up to 4 months, though the greens might soften even further when defrosted and reheated.
  • Adding the baby spinach at the end allows it to wilt but still retain some of its delicate texture.
  • You can also use roughly chopped, more mature spinach leaves. Give them an extra couple of minutes to cook down.
  • If you plan to make this soup ahead of time, add the spinach to the pot when you’ve reheated it. This will prevent the spinach from becoming too soft.

Nutrition

Calories: 97.87kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.39g, Protein: 5.94g, Fat: 3.61g, Saturated Fat: 0.6g, Sodium: 212.41mg, Potassium: 428.61mg, Fiber: 4.15g, Sugar: 2.28g, Vitamin A: 4160.55IU, Vitamin C: 15.05mg, Calcium: 88.26mg, Iron: 2.51mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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2 Comments

  1. Greg Guimon says:

    Can you freeze this soup cause I always double it

    1. Katie Workman says:

      yes! the texture of the greens might be a little mushier, but it will be fine.