Green Soup with Bulgur Wheat
Raise your hand if you think you are getting enough veggies and whole grains in your diet? Anybody? Seeing no hands, I’m going to assume that we could all use more veggies and whole grains in our diet. Doesn’t that seem to be the mantra of the health food movement lately? Eat more vegetables. Eat more whole grains. This super simple, delicious soup is the perfect answer to that seemingly hefty requirement.
Advertising this soup as the Healthiest Thing You Will Eat This Week does it a disservice. It also happens to be creamy, chewy, filling and perfectly delicious. It’s the kind of soup you would order at a restaurant, fall in love with immediately, tell all your friends about and then drive twenty-minutes out of your way to pick up on the way home for dinner one night. It’s that good.
I became obsessed with leeks a few years ago. I kept hearing chefs refer to them as “creamy” and I couldn’t wrap my brain around that. How could a vegetable relative of the Onion be creamy? Needless to say, these chefs knew exactly what they were talking about. Leeks, when sauteed and pureed, become insanely creamy! A word of warning: Leeks are dirty. They have layer after layer of sweet leekiness … and dirt manages to sneak into each little layer! The best way to make sure your leeks are clean is to chop them roughly (only the white and light green parts, toss the tough, dark green tops) and throw them all in a large bowl of cold water. Swirl them with your hands and let them relax in there for awhile to let all the dirty and grime sink to the bottom. Carefully scoop them out of the water and leave all the dirt on the bottom of the bowl.
Bulgur wheat is a whole grain that cooks up quickly and has a nice, chewy texture. Like most whole grains, it’s incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of different dishes. It can be cooked solo for a nice porridge, but throwing it into the pureed soup at the end gives this soup a little texture that takes it from a side dish to a meal.
If you haven’t invested in an immersion blender yet, let this serve as your formal invitation. Your soup-loving life will never be the same. The beauty of the immersion blender is that you can throw all your soup goodies (veggies, stock, beans, spices) into a large pot, stick the blender right into the pot and puree the entire thing into creamy, smoothness in a matter of moments. Immersion blenders fall on the inexpensive end of the kitchen appliance, they have a pretty long life and the difference it will make in your ability to whip up an impressive soup is worth every penny.
I know this is a bit late in the soup season, but this is such a nutritional powerhouse (and a great way to use up all the summer zucchini!) that it’s worth bookmarking and keeping around. Serve it with a drizzle of basil-infused olive oil and you won’t even remember that it’s supposed to be good for you.
Green Soup with Bulgur Wheat
3 medium-sized leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped and thoroughly rinsed
1 (8 oz.) package cremini or baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 medium-sized zucchini, chopped
1-2 heads broccoli, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 (15 oz.) can great white northern or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon thyme (more if using fresh thyme)
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup bulgur wheat
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, add more to taste
- In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic. Saute a few minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the leeks, zucchini, mushrooms and broccoli. Increase heat and saute until vegetables begin to soften, approximately 7 minutes.
- Once the veggies are soft, add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Add the spices and beans. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the entire mixture is hot.
- Reduce heat to low. Carefully use an immersion blender to blend the soup until entirely smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully remove batches of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Be very careful working with hot soup! It can splatter!
- Once the soup is smooth, increase the heat to medium-high and add the bulgur wheat. Once the soup is boiling slightly, reduce to low, cover and allow the soup to simmer for 10-12 minutes or until bulgur wheat is cooked.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of basil infused olive oil and good, crusty bread!