Sunday, January 19, 2014

Green Pea, Lettuce and Fennel Soup: Healthy, Green and Satisfying for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Well this is a little embarrassing. While I was making this Pea, Lettuce and Fennel Soup that I tagged in Giada's Feel Good Food Cookbook, then saw again in Women's Health Magazine, I realized it was a little too familiar. Tuns out I made it back in July. Whoops! ;-) I guess with almost 300 soups posted, it was inevitable that I would duplicate at least one recipe. I blame a crazy week and short-term memory loss. Luckily I like it--It's a creamy, healthy soup with good flavors and worth making again.  

Giada says, "I first had something similar to this in London during the Olympics. I really enjoyed it, especially the bit of a licorice flavor from the fennel. If you wouldn't think of putting lettuce in a soup, you should; it adds a light flavor and texture to go with the body and richness from the peas. A touch of butter rounds everything out. This is definitely a green soup. Serve it hot or at room temperature.

Green Pea, Lettuce and Fennel Soup
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis via Food
(Makes 4 Servings)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used 1 Tbsp vegan butter & 1/2 Tbsp olive oil)
2 small shallots, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium head Bibb lettuce, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
one (10-oz) package frozen petite peas (about 2 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, plus extra, as needed (I used veggie broth)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

(I added 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice)

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and fennel. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 the teaspoon pepper. Cover the saucepan and cook until almost tender, stirring occasionally, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lettuce and toss until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the peas, broth, 1 cup water and fennel seeds. Bring the soup to a boil. Cover; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

In a blender, blend the soup, 1 cup at a time, until smooth. Pour the soup back into the saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Thin out the soup by adding 1 tablespoon of extra broth at a time, if needed.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Notes/Results: I made a couple of changes to the recipe, making it vegan by replacing the butter and lessening the amount and using a little non-chicken broth paste. I also ended up adding a couple of ounces extra of frozen peas because I had a 12-ounce bag. I wanted the soup to have a little more brightness to it and added some fresh lemon juice. This soup tastes of springtime, is healthy and easy to make. It fits into the clean eating I have been focusing on and I was happy to make it again. 

Potluck Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs starts tomorrow and this Giada soup will be one of my dishes. Check out what everyone made from Donna Hay or any of our previous IHCC chefs.

Lots of friends are in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week--let's take a look at all the fabulous dishes that await. 

Janet of The Taste Space shares this unique Holey Mole Veggie and Rice Soup and says, "Chocolate in savoury meals can be a bit tricky. A bit heavy handed, and it can sink in your tummy. A good balance of sweet, spicy and salty are necessary to balance the flavours well. This is an unusual spin on mole, in soup form, bulked up with vegetables and brown rice. The tomato-chocolate backdrop was a delicious spin without being heavy (and the initial puree prior to adding the stock would be a delicious sauce on its own). While this wasn’t in a taco, we served this with tortillas on the side."

It's truly a 'souper' week for Mireille at Chef Mireille's East West Realm--she has three to share this week. First up Five-Spice Pork Udon Soup. She says, "Here is a delicious soup to warm you up this winter as we suffer through the polar vortex. ... I mixed and matched Asian cultures by including Udon noodles in this Chinese inspired soup, but there were no rice noodles in the home pantry. Feel free to use rice noodles, as was used in the original recipe."

Mireille's second soup is Malaysian Water Spinach Laksa. She says, "Although the original recipe used snow peas, when I went to Chinatown, I did not have laksa on my mind and instead had picked up one of my favorite veggies I always get on a Chinatown visit - water spinach. I also added canned baby corn because I always have leftovers after I use a partial can for a recipe and then it usually ends up being in my refrigerator so long it goes bad. This time I didn't want it to go to waste. With water spinach in this laksa version, it is an a-typical version of the classic soup, but just as delicious."

Finally Mireille heads to Africa with Plantain Corn Soup and says, "Cameroon is located on the western coast of Central Africa. It is often referred to as Africa in miniature because of its cultural diversity, with over 200 languages spoken. It's slightly larger than the US state of California and relatively politically stable, when compared with other African countries. The name actually is the English translation of the word shrimp from the Portuguese who landed in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camaroes (Shrimp River).For many years, the country was divided with half of it being under British rule and the other half under French rule. The French influence is evident in this recipe with the use of tarragon."

It's always nice to welcome Corina of Searching for Spice back to the Souper Sundays kitchen. This week she brings hearty Sausage and Vegetable Soup and says, "With a tin of tomatoes in the cupboard and a few vegetables in the fridge, even ones that are past their best, it’s always easy to make a quick soup for lunch or dinner. This was the one that I made the other day to go with the soda bread.  If I hadn’t made the soda bread I would probably just have added a tin of kidney or cannellini beans, or even some lentils to the soup to make it filling enough for a  main meal."

We have sandwiches to accompany our soups this week! 

Elizabeth of The Law Student's Cookbook shares a Turkey Sandwich with Roasted Tomatoes inspired by The Breakfast Club for Food 'N Flix this month. She says, "Though I did consider making Allison’s cereal filled sandwich, I didn’t know if I could actually bring myself to eat it. When I was in high school my mom made me lunch almost everyday, but she rarely made me sandwiches. This was due to my own demanding nature. For some reason I just . . . I preferred rice a roni I guess. And I was spoiled. ... This sandwich hopefully could full any high school student through Saturday detention. It’s simple enough but has a kick that makes it special!"

And it's a burger from Joyce of Kitchen Flavours. She says, "During the Big Bad Wolf book sale last December, I bought Rachel Ray's "The Book Of Burger". I have been eyeing this book ever since it was published more than a year ago, and I was all smiles when I've spotted the only copy that nobody seems to notice or maybe nobody wants it! Lucky me! ... My first recipe from this book is Italian BBQ Chicken Burger which I've made for one of our weekend night dinner, using my homemade buns. ... I like my burger with more Pickled Jalapenos and sliced fresh onions!

Thanks to everyone who joined 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. I love how green your soup is. Beautiful and delicious! I'm sure you won't forget you've made it a second time :P

  2. Fennel and peas, I must confess this combination is unfamiliar to me. It looks great and I can imagine it tastes great. On my bookmark list.

  3. I wish I could say I've never done that but...definitely have. This is one that would catch my eye multiple times, for sure! Love how vibrantly green it is.

  4. Too funny about making the soup twice... but way to go on over 300 soups!! You are bound to get repeats with so many. :)

  5. What a vibrant colour and it sounds as if the flavour matches! I'm a fan of fennel and love that it's used 2 ways in this soup. I'll have to give it a try.

  6. Hi Deb,
    A lovely soup, with beautiful colour and looks delicious. I have never seen a recipe using lettuce in a soup before, an interesting ingredient!
    Delicious round-up at Souper Sundays!

  7. Pam Armstrong GreerJanuary 25, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    I can't tell you how many times I've made something only to find that I've already made it!

  8. Such an interesting soup! This is one that is welcome right now, as our winter is beginning to drag and a bowl of green goodness reminds me of Spring and fresh greens and sunshine, and warmer days!

  9. Lettuce in soup. That's interesting.

  10. Couscous & ConsciousnessFebruary 3, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Deb, I'm very pleased you made this soup again, as I missed it the first time around and this looks like the kind of soup I would love, and the kind of soup I could enjoy right now in the middle of summer.


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