The Simplicity of Soups

Growing up in the South, soup to me was a concoction made cream or cheese or both — broccoli & cheese soup, shrimp bisque, corn chowder. While a gumbo may have been less rich, it would take days to make (or so it seemed). That’s why I avoided making them when I got older — either too fattening or too much work!

Then I discovered some simple, delicious soups like Jamie Oliver’s chickpea & leek soup and Julie Sanchez’s asparagus, spinach & leek soup. These not only contain fresh, wholesome ingredients, but the dishes can be made, soup to nuts, in less than 30 minutes.

The other thing I discovered was the commonality in ingredients — onions (or leeks), broth and vegetables. How simple it that? If you’re looking for an easy vegetarian dish to warm you up and fuel your day, these soups are the bomb!

So last weekend, when it was cold and rainy outside and I was searching for something to make for lunch, I pulled out whatever produce I had left in the fridge. These were 1/2 onion, half a bag of fresh spinach, and baby sweet peppers. Fortunately, I also had some garlic, chicken broth and fresh cream.

The soup took me 20 minutes to make and the whole family was coming back for seconds. In fact, my son Luke came by for thirds.

Here’s the recipe for my spinach soup.


  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (add more if you have more!)
  • 1 cup of chopped sweet peppers
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 3-4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 TBSP cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Saute the garlic, onion and peppers about 3 minutes until softened.

Step 2: Add the broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

Step 3: Add spinach and cook another 2 minutes until it has wilted.

Step 4: Puree the soup using a handheld or standing blender. Add cream, salt and pepper.

Melinda Hinson