Italian Spinach Salad Soup 6.000

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post

Washington Cooks Feb 23, 2011

This is one of Lorraine Wallace's signature "salad soups," each serving topped with a mix of some of same ingredients that are pureed. It works especially well here, with tender spinach leaves.

Wallace prefers not to use an immersion (stick) blender for pureeing the soup; she does not like its effect on the texture.

Servings: 6 - 8
  • For the soup
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped ( 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend
  • 8 cups (2 quarts) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Two 9-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the salad
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (about 2 ounces) loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups loosely packed watercress leaves and tender stems
  • 9 to 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 to 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler


For the soup: Melt the butter in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and Italian seasoning blend; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender.

Add the broth and potatoes; once the liquid begins to bubble at the edges, cook for 5 minutes so the potatoes are just tender, then stir in the spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender or food processor to form a smooth green soup. (Remove the center knob from the blender lid to allow steam to escape. Place a dish towel over the lid to prevent splashes.) Return the soup to the pot, and place over low heat.

Stir in the half-and-half, if using. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the salad: Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and the pepper to taste. Add the spinach and watercress; toss to coat evenly.

To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls (preferably warmed ones). Top each portion with some of the salad, a few tomato halves (to taste) and the shaved cheese (to taste).

Serve immediately.

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Recipe Source

From Wallace's "Mr. Sunday's Soups," with Brigit Binns (Wiley, 2011).

Tested by Lorraine Wallace and Bonnie S. Benwick.

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