Sunday, February 17, 2013

Italian Bread & Cheese Soup (With Spinach): Simple Comfort Food for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Thumbing through my Moosewood cookbooks for some soup inspiration, I found it in Simple Suppers. This Italian Bread & Cheese Soup seemed perfect for a blustery evening--light but cozy and satisfying. And, adding spinach makes me feel less guilty about all that gooey cheese. ;-)

Moosewood says, "This is the quintessential simple supper for many Italian families."

Italian Bread & Cheese Soup
Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers
(Serves 4)

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 quart vegetable broth
2 cups baby spinach or arugula (optional)
4 oz Fontina, Gruyere or Cheddar cheese
4 slices whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
black pepper and salt to taste

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until just golden, not brown. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, grate the cheese (about 2 cups).

When you are ready to serve the soup, Toast the bread. Break each slice of toast into bite-sized pieces and place in individual soup bowls. (If using spinach, top bread with about 1/2 cup or one handful to each bowl.) Cover with about 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle with basil or parsley and pepper. Ladle a cup of hot broth over the bread and cheese and serve at once.

Moosewood Ingredient Notes: We prefer whole wheat bread in this recipe because it has more flavor than white. Pumpernickel bread is another good option, great in combination with Cheddar cheese. And even though it gets soggy, toasting the bread makes a difference.

Notes/Results: Simple comfort food at its best. I used a homemade garlic stock from my freezer with a stir of "not chicken" soup base paste and gave the broth great flavor. The locally-made pumpernickel bread matched well with the sharp white cheddar and there was plenty of green with the spinach, fresh basil and fresh parsley. Satisfying and good--the perfect soup when you want something fast and nourishing. I will make this soup again. 

We have a soup and a couple of salads waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look.

Healthful Silkie Black Chicken Soup with Red Dates, Dried Longans, and Gojiberries this week from Tigerfish at Teczcape-An Escape to Food. Tigerfish says, "The last time I cooked silkie black chicken soup was last year around the same time period of Jan/Feb (winter months). This time, dried red dates and dried longan were added for sweet warm notes. The two ingredients together with sweet gojiberries, complement the mild savory flavors of the soup. This soup is especially nourishing for the colder months."

Janet of The Taste Space shares a hearty Cinnamon-Roasted Beet and Sweet Potato Spelt Berry Salad and says, "I’ve gone the savoury cinnamon route before (Strawberry and Roasted Chickpea Salad with a Cinnamon Vinaigrette, Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad, Cherry Collard Dolmas) and this was pretty good, too. I won’t gush its praises but it was fit for a weeknight meal (maybe not for anti-kale guests). It may seem like an involved salad but you just need to prepare each component separately – the cinnamon-roasted beets and sweets, the spelt berries, the sauteed kale and finally, the dressing."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes is here with Lemon, Tuna, and White Bean Salad and says, "We eat out usually two night’s a week, or rather I don’t cook two night’s a week.  On Wednesday’s my husband brings home some kind of takeout and on Saturday’s we usually eat out somewhere.  Which means, I need to have something made 5 days a week.  It can feel daunting and times, but what makes it manageable is wonderful, quick, easy recipes like this.This sweet, simple salad from Donna Hay, The Instant Cook was everything I wanted it to be.  It’s made all in one bowl, is super healthy with beans and tuna and spinach.  Served with a slice of homemade crusty bread and a glass of your favorite vino, you are a rock star."  

Thanks to Tigerfish, Janet and Pam for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. That bread soup looks so comforting! I really like the idea of using pumpernickel.

  2. That soup does sound like total comfort...bread, cheese, and spinach! What more could a gal ask for,

  3. www.teczcape.blogspot.comFebruary 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    I find it interesting that a simple broth was made then ladled over the ingredients, at the same time, for the cheese to melt. Sounds fresh and fast!

  4. Erin @ The Grass Skirt BlogFebruary 20, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    I'm so excited that I found your blog. I'm borderline obsessed with all things Hawaii. This soup looks yummy!


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