Nothing makes me happier than the first spring picnic in the park. Of course, it’s still pretty cold here and the ground is still wet, so placing the blanket on the grass is totally out of the question, but having a warm soup on the bank, watching the first signs of a blooming spring is definitely a great choice. It’s been more and more difficult for me to bear the winters, and we started to consider relocating during the long winter months somewhere in the Mediterranean. I dream of Lisbon or Porto, but Barcelona is also part of our plans. With all the work with the new apartment, I don’t think it’s going to happen this year, but next winter will definitely catch us somewhere with a mild climate, at the seaside.
Until then, I try to enjoy our own springs and summers as much as possible, not only with long walks and hiking (which we’ll be doing this year for the first time), but also cooking with seasonal ingredients and spoiling our bodies with all their amazing nutrients. Spring is definitely all about green, and I can’t wait for all the little plants to load the farmers’ markets.
I love all of them – nettles, ramsons (ramps), watercress, fresh spinach, baby lettuce, arugula, and dandelion leaves. Combining as many of these in a green, creamy soup sounds like the best choice most of the time, especially because I don’t boil them, just lightly simmer and immediately transfer them to the blender. Pairing these with broccoli and coconut came as a natural step, so our first soup enjoyed outside mirrored the changing nature – vibrant green.
I always saw spring greens as a gift from nature, meant to naturally clean our bodies, flush the toxins out, and revitalize the cells with fresh nutrients and vibrating energy. All the spring greens are loaded with vitamins (especially A and C) to nourish the body’s cells, minerals (magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium) to restore the healthy mineral exchange in the cells’ membranes, and fiber to cleanse the toxins metabolized in the liver and stuck in the colon where they can leak back in the blood. Spring greens also contain phytonutrients (carotenoids, flavonoids, and isoflavones) to oxygenate the cells and help them repair, fight against free radicals, and prevent chronic disease. Some of them, such as stinging nettles also have hormone balancing properties – so I use them to make one of my other favorite spring delish – The Hormone Balancing Creamy Nettle Soup
Serving the soup along with baked parsnip fries adds even more fiber to this meal and makes an easier transition from the winter diet, rich of root vegetables, and the spring one, rich of fresh ingredients and greens. If you are on a low-sodium diet, replace the vegetable stock with pure water and omit the soy sauce on the parsnip fries.
- For the soup
- 1 small broccoli head, cut in florets
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 bunches wild garlic
- 2 bunches watercress
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
- 1&1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 5-6 mint leaves
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- ½ lemon, juice only
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Mixed seeds, to garnish
- For the baked fries
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in ¼ inch stripes
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- Heat the oven at 180°C/356°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the parsnip stripes onto it.
- Add the coconut oil and soy sauce and toss to combine.
- Bake for 10 minutes, toss and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Sprinkle with chia seeds and set aside.
- Heat the coconut oil in a medium soup pot, add the onions and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring to simmer.
- Add broccoli and spinach and simmer fro 5 minutes, over low heat.
- Add the watercress and wild garlic, and remove from heat.
- Transfer the soup into a blender, add lemon juice and mint leaves and process to obtain a smooth liquid.
- Distribute evenly in airtight containers (for the to-go version) or bowls, garnish with mixed seeds and serve with bakes parsnip fries.