You might think lettuce is only good for making salads, but that’s not true! There’s no need to limit your lettuce. (Especially not when it’s so abundant this time of year.) Baby spinach, Romaine, arugula, and dandelion greens can all be served warm or cold. Either way, they need minimal prep. To make this soup, for example, you simply stir in the rinsed greens during the final minute of cooking. You don’t even have to bother drying them since you’ll be adding them to a broth — just rinse away any dirt and then drop them into the soup!
Another simplifying technique I used for this soup was to opt for frozen chopped leeks. Fresh leeks can be time-consuming to thoroughly rinse and then prep; frozen leeks are already cleaned and chopped. All you need to do is sauté them. (And, if there are any too-big pieces, be sure to break them apart as soon as they’re soft enough to cut with the edge of a spatula.) If you don’t have any leeks at hand, you can use yellow onion instead. Likewise, you can use parsley in place of cilantro or a dash of balsamic vinegar instead of the pomegranate molasses. The only thing that isn’t negotiable in this recipe is the need to stir in the yogurt at the very end. A little off-burner heat is fine, but simmering/bubbling heat makes yogurt separate.
Lettuce, Leek & Yogurt Soup with Indian Spices Serves 2. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
1 cup frozen chopped leeks OR 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 green onions, ends trimmed, chopped
2 cups chicken broth, preferably made with free-range chicken
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. fenugreek (optional, but adds a savoriness reminiscent of celery salt)
1 tsp. pomegranate molasses OR balsamic vinegar
Handful cilantro leaves
Double handful of rinsed lettuce leaves, such as baby spinach, Romaine, arugula, dandelion, etc. (I opted for baby mixed greens)
1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, preferably made with milk from grass-fed cows
Heat a knob of butter in a soup pot over medium heat until melted. Stir in leeks and cook 7 minutes, stirring often, or until leeks are soft and fragrant. If any of the pieces are significantly larger than the others, cut them into smaller pieces with the edge of a spatula. Stir in garlic and green onions and cook another 3 minutes or until garlic is beginning to turn golden brown.
Pour in broth and stir in spices and pomegranate molasses. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and lettuce and heat through for 1 minute, stirring constantly, or until lettuce is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3 days.