Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Creamy Lettuce Soup

Creamy Lettuce Soup
Delightful springtime flavor in a quick and easy soup

Springtime means lettuce at its freshest. Hence this soup.

The name says “creamy,” but that doesn’t mean heavy. We add just a touch of cream (which you can omit if you want). So this is almost a diet dish!

Because if it’s spring, swimsuit season is just around the corner. Enough said.

Creamy Lettuce Soup
Recipe: Creamy Lettuce Soup

This dish is not overly rich. That’s because, although it does contain a small amount of cream, nearly all the texture comes from potato that’s cooked and then puréed in the soup.

Prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes. Cooking time adds around 25 minutes.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 first-course servings.

You can prepare this soup a day ahead if you wish, then refrigerate it in an airtight container. Serve it hot or chilled – see Notes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter (may substitute olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ~½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (see Notes)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, diced finely or sliced thinly (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste; see Notes)
  • 10 to 12 ounces diced potato
  • 4 cups chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock)
  • ~16 ounces lettuce, cleaned, cored, and torn into large pieces (any variety except iceberg; see Notes)
  • ¼ to ½ cup heavy cream (may omit; see Notes)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional; see Notes)
  • garnish of lemon twist, chopped parsley or mint, or a dollop of sour cream (optional)

Procedure 

  1. Place a 4-quart soup pot on medium stovetop heat, then add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the chopped onion, season to taste with salt, then sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 additional minute. 
  2. Add the dried thyme, diced potato, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook until the potato is soft (maybe 15 minutes, though it depends on the size of the potato pieces).
  3. Add the lettuce, then bring the mixture to a simmer again. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes – until the lettuce is just tender.
  4. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup (you can leave it a bit chunky if you prefer, though we think this soup is better with a smoother texture). Add as much cream as you like, then stir to incorporate. Cook for 1 minute to warm the mixture. Taste the soup, then adjust the seasoning if necessary – or add a bit of lemon juice (we think this brightens the flavor).
  5. Ladle the soup and serve. Garnish is optional. But a slice of lemon or some chopped parsley or mint adds a festive note. A dollop of sour cream would also work.

Creamy Lettuce Soup

Notes

  • What type of lettuce to use? We prefer romaine and/or bibb (and generally use a combination of the two). But almost any variety of lettuce will work. We’d stay away from iceberg, though. It has great crunch (a quality that’s lost in this dish), but little flavor.
  • The more cream you add, the richer the soup will be. We think minimal cream is best – so we use about ¼ cup (just enough to enhance the smoothness of the soup). A hint of cream flavor seems sufficient to us.
  • Don’t want to use sweet cream? You could try sour cream, or even yogurt (Greek yogurt might be particularly nice). If you go this route, you probably won’t need to add lemon (because both sour cream and yogurt add tang). 
  • Prefer a vegan soup? Just use olive oil instead of butter, omit the dairy, and use vegetable stock.
  • We generally serve this soup hot, but it’s also good when chilled. If you want to serve it cold, you’ll need to prepare the soup ahead of time and refrigerate. You might also want to add a bit more cream in Step 4 – we think this makes for a better-flavored cold soup.
  • What kind of potato to use? Either a waxy (boiling) type or a mealy (baking) type – whatever you have on hand. We think Yukon Golds add nice flavor, so that’s what we tend to use.
  • Don’t have an immersion blender? Just let the soup cool a bit, then purée it in batches in a food processor or blender. Then reheat the soup before serving (whenever we reheat, we always taste again and adjust the seasoning if necessary).
  • BTW, if using an immersion blender, make sure to use one that has a metal (not plastic) shaft. Plastic shafts can crack in hot liquid (guess how we know).
  • We like to use dried thyme in this dish. But fresh thyme or tarragon would also work. As would oregano. And fresh mint would be quite nice.
  • Speaking of mint: If you make this soup with mint and add peas, you’ll have an approximation of Potage Saint-Germain, a classic French soup. (If you go this route, we’d use frozen peas and add them with the lettuce.)
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.

Creamy Lettuce Soup

Romaines of the Day

“Lettuce in soup?” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “So good! And who knew?”

“It’s unbe-leaf-ably tasty, isn’t it?” I said.

“Lettuce not suffer your wilted jokes again,” said Mrs K R.

“I thought that one was creamy smooth,” I said. “It rose to the top!”

“I declare your humor absent without leaf,” said Mrs K R.

Guess I have the right to romaine silent.

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68 comments:

  1. I am in Greece and have seen lettuce soup on the menu ( Horta) in several places. It strongly lemony here. More than a touch! GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, hmmm, we do like lemon, so maybe I should try more than a touch. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. I am not had a great track record with lettuce soup but think potato base is a really good idea. Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. Hi Evelyne, the potato base is the trick, I think. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. The idea of lettuce being a key soup ingredient is intriguing (and more than a little surprising). We've made a few lettuce soups, but not this one—nice to know there are more to try out there. This sounds wonderfully springy, John. Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. Hi Terry, I remember a lettuce and pea soup that you made that was really good! Lettuce is a great ingredient in soups, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I have grilled romaine and escarole but have never had lettuce soup. You can bet the bank I will be trying this soon.

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    1. Hi Anne, grilled lettuce is great, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. This is the first time I've heard of lettuce soup. I'm intrigued!

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    1. Hi Pam, it certainly has an intriguing flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. It looks creamy and jam packed with flavours! A perfect soup for the season.

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    1. Hi Angie, totally packed with flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. This is so fun -- I've never had a lettuce soup! I always love thickening soups with potato, or using them for the smooth texture. Looks perfect in this recipe. Looking forward to trying it! :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, bet you'll really like this! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Cooking lettuce is a neat idea that I've never really tried. Though I did put leftover salad (including lettuce) in a multi-day soup that changed every time. It was good!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, cooked lettuce really is worth trying -- good flavor, interesting texture. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. What an intriguing soup!! It would be a lovely starter for so many meals!

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    1. Hi Liz, isn't this interesting? Really fun dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I've actually never used lettuce in soup recipes - loving this idea. It's bright, relatively light yet still hearty!

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    1. Hi Ben, lettuce makes a wonderful soup ingredient! Really worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Replies
    1. Hi Speedy, it's SO good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Lettuce join you for dinner so I can try this wonder! Actually I have heard that there are many that make soup from leftover salad but this sounds so much better!

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    1. Hi Abbe, this is good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Have not prepared this for ages - the look of yours has created a certain appetite ! Lovely recipe . . . methinks my dear neighbour happily uses cream > shall go and 'borrow' the small amount !!! If I get some made tomorrow to have hot there should be a nifty beginning to two other meals over the Easter break ! Yup - ours is half-a-day old - hope yours will be healthy and happy !!! Best to Mrs KR also . . .

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    1. Hi Eha, this is SO good -- worth borrowing a tad of cream so you can make it. :-) Although it's good without the cream, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. yes i make a similar soup quite often. i add peas and zucchini also. delish! happy easter to you and the missus!

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    1. Hi Sherry, I've made this with peas but not zucchini. Gotta try that! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. We love soups and this one will make such a refreshing change to the Winter soups. Nice and light as a starter, and a beautiful colour. Wonderful idea for Summer, and yes soups and no bread should do the trick say no more :)

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    1. Hi Pauline, :-) We love bread, but it loves us, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. This recipe is a beautiful celebration of spring and I like in your notes how to take a few steps and turn it into Potage San Germain.

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    1. Hi Bernadette, doesn't this just scream "spring"? We love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Great spring soup and a fun way to use lettuce.

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    1. Hi Dahn, it really is a fun way to use lettuce! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Lettuce soup, wow would have never guessed but what a delicious way to say hello to spring. We stir fry romaine lettuce often but have never thought to put it in a soup. Must give this a go.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, we like to stir fry (or grill, or roast) lettuce too. And -- obviously! -- use it in soup. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Lettuce soup?! What?! This looks so creamy and delicious. Can't wait to try it.

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    1. Hi Laura, enjoy! :-) And thanks for the comment.

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  20. I haven't yet heard of salad soup, but it sounds good. :)

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    1. HI P&P, definitely worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. I think folks who might have raised an eyebrow to lettuce soup will be pleasantly surprised. This looks delicious. Light and full of flavors. Very nice!

    Velva

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    1. Hi Velva, this is definitely a pleasant tasting soup! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. What a beautiful looking soup that's so versatile, too. I especially like how this would be a brilliant use of lettuce that's gone a little soggy in the fridge.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, you're right that lettuce that's a bit over the hill works well in this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. I have always wanted to make lettuce soup. Mark and I have vowed to eat more soups as they are generally (even with a little cream) healthier. I really look forward to this.

    PS - Lord Krishna’s book arrived today — so many wonderful dishes! Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Hi David, there's a lot you can do with this basic recipe! Glad you like the recipes in Lord Krishna's. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I sure could have used this recipe a while back. I order 3 heads of baby bok choy from WFs and they delivered 3 large heads of Romaine lettuce. I looked at several recipes for lettuce soup and chose one which didn't turn out too well. It was thin and rather tasteless. I love your recipe. The potatoes would give it quite a bit of body and the lemon a nice bright flavor. This is a keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing John!

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    1. Hi MJ, lettuce alone does have a kind of thin flavor. Not a problem with this recipe, though! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. The beautiful bright green itself looks so inviting and the flavours are spot on for me. thank you for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Taruna, isn't that shade of green terrific? Excellent flavor, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Bookmarked! I’ve been wanting to try lettuce in a soup but am always a bit wary. This looks brilliant for summer.

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    1. Hi Balvinder, this is really worth trying. Nice, somewhat understated, flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Hungarians have a Lettuce soup, generally made with sour cresm and dill. Will try the French version, sounds great with peas.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, I can certainly see sour cream and dill as being wonderful! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Wow, this sounds fantastic. And the bright green color is really beautiful. Spring in a bowl!

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    1. Hi Frank, this really is spring in a bowl. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I tried making a lettuce soup last year when I was buried in CSA lettuce. It was awful so I'll have to try yours this year when the deluge hits!

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    1. Hi Inger, we like this a lot -- hope you do, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I have made a lettuce soup for years and it is amazing how good lettuce tastes in soup. Your recipe looks absolutely delicious and perfect for spring.

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    1. Hi Judee, lettuce really works in soup, doesn't it? SO good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. This is a perfect recipe to use up greens. Have you tried this with a bit of arugula?

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    1. Hi Debra, haven't tried it with arugula, but now that you've suggested it, I will! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. Looks very colorful and delicious. I would like to try it. Thanks for the recipe. Greetings

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    1. Hi B&S, SO worth trying! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. Oh my gosh I just LOVE fresh leafy lettuce from the garden. We eat it tossed with a little olive oil and balsamico with green onions. Heavenly....which leads me to your soup: With the fresh flavors that romaine, bibb, and leaf lettuce have, the soup has to be delightful! Perfect for spring, but also when the temps begin to soar! Thank you for sharing this!

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  34. It is amazing to me how creamy vegetable soups can be, even without the cream. This looks wonderful and so unique.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, this is extremely creamy, without being exactly "creamy." :-) Thanks for the comment.

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