Spinach and arugula or roquette (I love this name!) usually find their way into my fridge with the aim of being used as salad greens. But as is often the case, they remain unused or ignored. Salads are great, don’t get me wrong there. But the inertia to make and eat them is strong! As fall and winter set in and soup season begins these leftover greens make a great addition to all kinds of soups, dals and beans. This season looking for new ideas and inspiration I stumbled upon recipes for rocket soup as well as spinach and arugula soup. That’s how this recipe for Roquette Soup was tweaked, steamed, blended and served.
Inspired by Yamin Khan’s Shorbat Jarjir and Palak ka Shorba
Many moons ago we had a lovely send off meal meal at a family friend’s home the night of our flight out from New Delhi. There was a spinach soup in the first course. Flavorful, light and warm; it whetted our appetite for the main course. When I got back to New Jersey I tried to replicate it and shared my Palak Shorba recipe on the blog which I have variously adapted in years since. Yasmin Khan’s Shorbat Jarjir is remarkably similar to my recipe except for the use of lentils and the addition of chicken. The roquette soup (arugula soup) take a leaf out of both recipes. There is a wide berth for experimenting and adapting it to your taste. So don’t hold back!
Enhance flavor with ingredients you have or like
Made as is this recipe produces a mildly earthy soup thanks to fresh turmeric and ginger. Arugula provides a slightly bright flavor enhanced with lime juice. Here are a few ideas for other ingredients to add more flavor and nutrition:
- Whole Spices: While sautéing soup ingredients do not hesitate to use whole spices such as black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise amongst a long list to add more depth of flavor. I’d suggest removing those spices before blending the soup.
- Vegetables and lentils: While the greens and potatoes are enough to make a hearty soup this recipe can accommodate more must-finish, clear-out-the-fridge ingredients such as carrots, celery, green onions, coriander (cilantro) and courgettes, to name a few. And just like the Palak Shorba recipe lentils make a great addition too.
Total Time: 40 minutes, prep time: 15 minutes
Ingredients for Roquette Soup
- Roquette/Arugula ~ 2 cups, steamed
- Spinach ~ 1 cup, steamed
- Garlic 3-4 cloves, smashed and chopped
- Ginger 1” piece, washed and chopped
- Onion 1/2 or 1 small, sliced
- Potato 1 or 2 small, washed, peeled and steamed
- Capsicum/Peppers 1/2 or 1, sliced (optional)
- Butter/EVOO ~ 2 Tbsp
- Whole spices – any that you’d lile to use (optional)
- Ground spices (such as chili powder/nutmeg) – any that you’d like to use (optional)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
- Fresh Turmeric ~ 2 tsp, grated
- Water for cooking
- Sour Cream ~ 1 tbsp per serving
- EVOO for serving
- Juice of one lime and more lime as needed
Let’s make a green soup with spinach & arugula
First, prep the greens.
Save your greens before they wilt!
As soon as I think my salad greens are about to wilt, I steam/blanch them and freeze or refrigerate them. This prolongs their life and saves me from the guilt of having to throw away perfectly good produce (before I let them sit that long, that is!). This can be done at anytime and will save you time when you want to cook. Alternatively, its just as easy to use fresh greens for the soup.
To steam greens: wash, then add to a pressure cooker/instant pot. There is no need to add any seasoning unless you know what you’ll use them for. I like to add garlic and ginger when the greens are for saag or another Indian dish, same for soups like this one.
- In an instant pot, close the lid and seal the vent. Turn on the steam setting for 5 to 7 minutes. Allow steam to escape naturally before opening.
- For a pressure cooker, cook until one whistle sounds. Then remove from heat and allow steam to escape naturally.
To blanch greens: Bring a pot of water to a roiling boil. Then add the greens. Stir them around and remove/strain as soon as they turn a bright green. This should happen quickly, within a minute or so. Don’t overcook them. I usually strain and allow the leaves to cool down completely before refrigerating or freezing. You could put them in a water/ice bath but since these will later go into a soup/shorba this step can be skipped.
Prep any other vegetables you’ll be using for the roquette soup
Next, prep the potato. Wash and scrub clean to remove all dirt. Then peel and dice into cubes. Blanch it in boiling water or steam it just you would greens in a pressure cooker or instant pot. You’ll like need to add a little more time. Potatoes will bulk up the soup and add a smooth, creamy texture. This is the time to prep any other vegetables such as carrots or courgettes that you plan to use. Clean, peel and cube them too. You needn’t cook them now, they will easily cook when everything steeps together in a pot.
Prepare the aromatics and assemble your roquette soup!
Next, prep garlic, ginger, onion and turmeric. Smash and peel garlic and roughly chop it. Similarly, clean and chop ginger. Wash and clean turmeric (this is for fresh turmeric root) then grate about 2 teaspoons worth. Clean and slice onion. Use 1 small or half of a large onion.
Put a deep sauce pan on the stove at medium high heat. Once warm melt butter in it. Or use olive oil. Sauté ginger and garlic until aromatic and starting to brown. This would be the time to add any whole spice you want to use. Next, add onion and sauté until translucent. Then add already steamed potatoes and greens or any other vegetables you are using. Sauté again and simmer in the moisture greens would release. After a few minutes add 1 tsp grated turmeric and reserve the other teaspoon for serving. Season with salt and pepper, add ground turmeric and any other ground spices like chili powder that you’d like to use. I often add chili flakes or chili oil while serving and skip at this point. Add about 1 cup of water and continue to simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
Finally, it’s time to blend this stew. I used my immersion blender. If using a jar blender, allow the stew to cool down. Remove any whole spices you’ve used. Then blend the soup and return to a simmer. I add juice of half a lime at this point and turn off the heat.
Serve Roquette Soup with sour cream, olive oil and fresh turmeric
Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle some good olive oil on top, a few cracks of black pepper, some chilli flakes, a tablespoon (or more) of sour cream (or greek yogurt) and garnish with a few strands of grated turmeric. Keep lime at hand and slice some more if one lime isn’t enough! Some toasted bread to sop it up would be great. I served it with buttered slices of my homemade sourdough bread.
Sour cream or yogurt adds a tartness that complements the silky texture of the soup as well as cuts through the fat, even the little the we have here.
I am still trying combinations of vegetables for this soup and there is really no end to experimentation. If you stumble upon a hit combination, please leave a comment below!
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Roquette Soup with Turmeric and Sour Cream
- Pressure cooker/Instant Pot
- Immersion blender or food processor
- Sauce pan
- Box grater or zester
- 1 cups Arugula/Roquette/Rocket steamed (more if starting with raw leaves)
- 1 cup Palak/Spinach steamed (more if starting with raw leaves)
- 3-4 Lehsun/Garlic cloves smashed, peeled and chopped
- 1 1" piece Adrak/Ginger washed and chopped
- 1/2 Piyaz/Onion cleaned and sliced
- 1 or 2 Aloo/Potato, small steamed
- 1/2 Simla Mirch/Green Pepper/Capsicum sliced
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter/Olive Oil
- Whole spices optional – any that you'd lile to use
- Ground spices (such as chili powder/nutmeg) optional – any that you'd like to use
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp Haldi/Turmeric powder
- 2 tsp Grated Turmeric root washed and grated
- 1 cup Water or more as needed
- Juice of 1 lime or more as needed
- 1 tbsp Sour Cream per serving
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil for serving
- First, prep the greens. Steam in a pressure cooker or instant pot. Or blanch them in a pot of water. Read recipe for more tips.
- Next, prep the potato. Wash and scrub clean, then peel and dice into cubes. Blanch in boiling water or steam in a pressure cooker or instant pot. Prep any other vegetables such as peppers, carrots or courgettes that you plan to use. Clean, peel and cube/slice them too. These will easily cook when everything steeps together in a pot.
- Prep garlic, ginger, onion and turmeric. Smash and peel garlic and roughly chop it. Clean and chop ginger. Wash and clean turmeric (this is for fresh turmeric root) grate about 2 teaspoons worth. Clean and slice onion.
- Put a deep sauce pan on the stove at medium high heat. Melt butter in it or use olive oil. Sauté ginger and garlic until aromatic and starting to brown. Add any whole spice you want to use. Next, add onion and sauté until translucent. Then add already steamed potatoes and greens or any other vegetables you are using. Sauté and simmer in the moisture greens would release. Add 1 tsp grated turmeric reserve rest for serving. Season with salt and pepper, add ground turmeric and other ground spices like chilli powder. Add about 1 cup of water and continue to simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Finally, blend the stew. I used my immersion blender. If using a jar blender, allow the stew to cool down. Remove any whole spices you’ve used. Then blend the soup and return to a simmer. I add juice of half a lime at this point and turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top, a few cracks of black pepper, some chilli flakes, a tablespoon (or more) of sour cream (or greek yogurt) and garnish with a few strands of grated turmeric. Keep lime at hand and slice some more if one lime isn’t enough! Serve with toasted bread to sop it up.