Spring vegetable soup

Spring vegetable soup
  • Serves icon Serves 4-6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 20 min

This spring vegetable soup pays homage to the best of the season’s bounty. It’s bursting with asparagus, broad beans, fennel, lettuce, courgette and a squeeze of lemon. Load up on lots of green goodness and serve as a light starter or lunch.

This recipe is from Gill Meller’s cookbook, ROOT STEM LEAF FLOWER: How to Cook with Vegetables and Other Plants (Quadrille £27).

Nutrition: For 6

Calories
101kcals
Fat
4.4g fat (0.7g saturated)
Protein
4.4g
Carbohydrates
4.4g (0.7g saturated)
Fibre
5.5g
Salt
trace
Calories
101kcals
Fat
4.4g fat (0.7g saturated)
Protein
4.4g
Carbohydrates
4.4g (0.7g saturated)
Fibre
5.5g
Salt
trace

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 4 new potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 litre well flavoured vegetable stock (check it’s vegan and gluten free, if it needs to be)
  • 2 large handfuls podded fresh young broad beans (see swaps)
  • 2-3 handfuls podded fresh peas (see swaps)
  • 1 small lettuce (little gem works well)
  • Handful mixed fresh herbs, such as mint, lovage (see swaps), parsley, basil, fennel tops, chives
  • 1 small courgette, cut into 1cm cubes
  • Handful sugar snap peas
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Broad bean or pea tops, or pea and chive flowers, to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Heat a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the fennel and potatoes. Season lightly with salt and black pepper and cook gently for 6-8 minutes until softened and almost tender but not coloured. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a low simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your broad beans: larger beans, particularly those that have developed a black eye, can be tough and will benefit from being cooked in boiling water for 1-2 minutes before being peeled. Young, smaller broad beans can be put straight into a bowl with the podded peas. Remove any damaged or unwanted outer leaves from the lettuce, then wash and shred into 1-2cm pieces. Set aside. Pick the soft herbs from their stalks and chop them finely. Chop the chives (if using) as finely as you can.
  3. Make sure the broth is simmering, then drop in the courgette, broad beans, peas, sugar snaps and spring onions, then cook for 2-3 minutes to soften. Add the shredded lettuce and cook for a further 2 minutes, then stir in the herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and a grinding of black pepper.
  4. Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Garnish with the broad bean or pea tops and pea and chive flowers (if using) and trickle with olive oil before serving.

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