Lettuce Soup (Vegan or VGT)

TooManyVeggiesOh, it’s been a long time indeed. So long that you surely find yourself with a refrigerator full of greens and no humanly possible way to consume them before they plummet southward. That is why I have invented the Kitchen Cleanup Soup, aka Lettuce Soup, aka Random Greens Soup, and plenty of other things we could call it. Be honest, how many times have you found yourself with way too many seemingly unrelated greens on your hands and no good plan for how to  quickly and easily use them all together? Broccoli, asparagus, kale, kohlrabi, romaine – how can we unite them with one minimal, all encompassing effort? This soup is the perfect answer to that dilemma.


This is a lovely, light summer soup, a tasty and comforting autumn soup, a crisp and energizing spring soup, and basically an all-around all purpose soup that you can make in a huge batch and then freeze for a rainy day. It’s super easy, but it does take some time, though it is mostly passive time, letting the soup simmer away covered on the stovetop. Also, I hope you have a gigantic pot. Otherwise, queue the “we’re going to need a bigger boat” jokes.

So many things can go in this soup, but here’s what I happened to toss together today.


  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ lb assorted leafy greens, including kohlrabi, kale, chard, arugula (random stuff we picked at the u-pick farm without a specific plan – never a good idea, btw)
  • 1 large russet potato, chopped
  • 1lb asparagus, cut in 1inch pieces (tips reserved)
  • 4-6 cups soup stock (how much you need depends on your volume of veggies – should just cover the veggies in the pot but not so much that they’re drowned)
  • Cream to taste – either vegan sour cream or heavy cream of your choice
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • Reserved steamed asparagus tips (as garnish)
  • Parsley as garnish
  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil for cooking

The easiest way to think of preparation is to break it down in three key steps:

    1. Creating the base. In a large dutch oven on medium heat, heat the oil or butter. Start by sauteeing the mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion, optional garlic if you swing that way). When everything is softened and it smells awesome, you’re ready to move to step two.
    2. Making the soup. Add the soup stock and all the other vegetables and seasonings, except for garnishing vegetables and cream (eg, asparagus tips, parsley, cream – those go in at step 3). Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to simmer, stirring often, for 20-40 minutes (basically until you’re firmest vegetables are tender – if you’re including potatoes, they will take the longest).
    3. Finishing touches. This is where you will adjust the seasonings and stir in the cream. When the soup is done, ladle into bowls with a dollop of cream, parsley, and a handful of steamed asparagus as garnish. I also like to serve it with a crusty baguette and/or a side of rice.






Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns (Vegan)

Feed me Seymour

Wild fiddlehead ferns

Remember those fiddlehead ferns I mentioned with my Chik’n Marsala recipe? These are they. Let me tell you a little something about fiddlehead ferns. They’re  magnificent and delicious, and, also, they totally look like aliens. Apparently they’re only available for about three weeks of the year, and mostly in New England, so if you’ve never seen or heard of them, it’s not surprising. I’d never seen or heard of them myself until I saw them through the window of the doorway at Whole Foods one day, and thought “That plant in the window, it’s simply amazing! Oh, while I’m here, I might as well take a hundred dollars worth of roses.”/nerdy Little Shop of Horrors reference

But seriously folks. There are some things people should know about fiddleheads before cooking them, and apparently some of them can cause GI illness if not prepared correctly, though generally speaking they’re safe and delicious. You just need to cook them thoroughly. And not eat them raw.

As far as what they taste like, they’re not very far from asparagus or broccolini, with a super green freshness, slight nuttiness and hint of bitter aftertaste.

By the way, this recipe is not my invention. I found it at Earthly Delights. But I scoured pages and pages of recipes to find ideas for the perfect simple treatment, and it wasn’t easy to find, so I wanted to make it easy for you.

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

  • 1 lb fresh fiddlehead ferns, tightly closed
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 1 tsp freshly ground sea salt
  • Ice water
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter or margarine (or you could use regular butter for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Clean and trim the fiddleheads, snipping off the tough stems or any brown unsightly parts. Rinse in cold water – you may need to go through a few rounds of cold water until it’s clear. Meanwhile, boil two quarts of salted water and have a bowl of ice water on hand.

When the water is boiling, add the fiddleheads. Return to a boil and cook for only about two or three minutes, timing it carefully. Strain the boiling water and dunk the ferns immediately in ice water. Drain the fiddleheads and pat them dry.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. As it begins to bubble, add the blanched fiddleheads. Sauté for about two minutes, then add the lemon juice and stir thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Serve immediately.