Heidi Swanson's Spicy Green Soup

October  6, 2015
4 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

On its own, the soup is a punch of health, a soothing bowl of bright, fiery broth—it's basically a hot green juice, with extra chile. But, as Swanson told me, "The other thing that makes it great is the way it's wonderful on its own, but also great over just about whatever you've got on hand, making a one-bowl meal a breeze." Adapted slightly from Near & Far (Ten Speed Press, September 2015).

Serve with: poached eggs, hot white beans, soba noodles, or brown rice. And top with: chopped black olives, lemon wedges, toasted almonds, shaved green onions, or roasted, sliced mushrooms (or other oven-roasted vegetable). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup (20 grams) firmly packed basil leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups (35 grams) firmly packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/4 cup (7 grams) lightly packed mint leaves
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small serrano chiles, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • Poached eggs, hot white beans, soba noodles, or brown rice, to serve
  • Chopped black olives, lemon wedges, toasted almonds, shaved green onions, or roasted, sliced mushrooms (or other oven-roasted vegetable), to top
  1. In a saucepan, bring water just to a simmer.
  2. As the water heats, combine the garlic, basil, cilantro, mint, ginger, olive oil, chiles, almonds, salt, lemon zest, and honey in a food processor. Blend until smooth, thinning with a couple of tablespoons of cold water and scraping down the sides along the way, until the mixture becomes as smooth as possible.
  3. Taste and adjust to your liking; the paste should be strong and spicy.
  4. Just before serving, add the paste to the simmering water and stir well. Dial back the heat at this point; you don't want it to return to a simmer, but you do want it very hot.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning—a bit more salt or a squeeze of lemon juice. (Editors' note: Don't skimp on the lemon!) Ladle into bowls with your chosen accompaniment and enjoy on its own or topped with any of the suggested toppings.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LittleMissMuffin
  • samanthaalison
  • ariel a
    ariel a
  • julia samersova
    julia samersova
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

7 Reviews

LittleMissMuffin February 24, 2017
Just made this and drank plain. My mini chopper didn't make everything as smooth as I would have liked so I put the entire mix into my blender. It became a hot frothy green drink. Quite good and a nice bright light green color. I don't like putting hot liquids in my ninja though since it is plastic, and is potentially like to make this ahead of time. I I was wondering if I could put the cold paste and cool water into the blender and then heat all to just under a simmer when ready to serve. Or would this turn it all an icky dark green?
samanthaalison November 11, 2016
This sounded great, but despite all the flavorful ingredients we found it pretty bland. Would not make again
Rachel February 22, 2016
We really liked this! I toasted the almonds and ad-libbed a bit on the herbs. Didn't have enough cilantro and the basil had gone off, so I increased the mint and added parsley and a handful of spinach to make up the difference. Potentially because of this, the soup was a little blander then we would have liked, but it perked right back up with lemon juice, grated romano, and a generous hand with the flaky sea salt. Served it over white beans that had been gently sauteed with olive oil and garlic, and some brown rice. I used jalapenos instead of serranos, and 1.5 was plenty for a nice kick.
ariel A. February 10, 2016
Loved it! The suggested toppings are perfect with the broth.
KT December 11, 2015
Ok, so I wanted to like this recipe out of the box. To me, instant soup has always stood for quick, cheap, nasty goodness. Kind of like college spring break in a bowl. But this was to be more refined, more sensible. A soup that was quick and easy but still good for you. Well it was easy to make. And yes, I get the healthy. But has it lost too much of the cheap and nasty? Has it lost it's trail park soul? So I looked over the ingredients in the food processor again. What was this lacking? A troll through the pantry and I came back with at least year-old bonito flakes. (Corn flakes eventually go bad but do bonito flakes?) Anyway, into the mix and I tasted again-- now it worked. Now I got the green healthy with a kick of peppers and ginger, but also a faint whisper of cheap dollar store umami. Thanks Food 52! Oh and marie bella, if you were that girl from years back on Clearwater Beach, I was going to call....but um..I lost your number ...and..
julia S. November 5, 2015
This soup is HEALTH in a bowl, literally! I adjusted the salt and honey and garlic (more!!!) and added fresh parsley, fresh dill and fresh spinach! Why not right? Will be serving over soba noodles tonight to the entire family! THANK YOU!
maria B. October 20, 2015
I am sorry but this was gross!