- 2-3 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbsp buckwheat groats, optional (or 1 tbsp pearl barley)
- black pepper
- 500 g fresh spinach leaves (or stinging nettle leaves)
- 1 egg
- 1-2 tbsp natural yogurt
Spinach soup is a quick recipe that has become part of the Bulgarian tradition. All housewives make it, according to the way transmitted through the generations in the family, resulting in many very delicious variations of this soup.
Some women even prepare it with fresh leaves of stinging nettle instead of spinach. Nettle soup is very popular so one could wonder if it isn’t the origin of spinach soup. Bulgarians would go out in the field, or sometimes in their own gardens, in season when the nettle is in flowers and its stinging power is somewhat lessened. They would pick the plant with gloves and use it in various ways for its medicinal benefits. Thus they would also boil it into this easy soup, to which the nettle gives a quite interesting taste, sweeter and without the bitterness of spinach. No need to worry, once the stinging nettle is cooked into a soup or a tea, its stinging power is removed and it is rich in healthy vitamins and minerals.
As fresh nettle leaves are hard to find off season and in stores, here is the basic recipe with spinach.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the finely chopped onion and carrot and fry for about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the saucepan about 4 cups of water or more, depending on the quantity of spinach you want to add to the soup. Keep in mind the consistency should stay light and not become thick and creamy.
- Optionally, you may add 1 tbsp of buckwheat groats, or if you prefer replace it by 1 tbsp of pearl barley.
- Bring water to a boil, then simmer.
- Add salt to taste, black pepper. Roughly chop the spinach leaves and add them to the soup.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg. Mix in well the desired quantity of natural yogurt, to taste, making sure there are no lumps left.
- Add the egg mixture to the warm soup in the saucepan and mix well. The soup’s broth will become creamy but not thick. The consistency should remain watery. Serve.
Serve soup in previously warmed bowls. Many Bulgarians like adding to their spinach soup crumbled feta cheese. Others simply enjoy it with a few added drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice, which gives it a refreshing taste, or wine vinegar.