This tasty Syrian Spinach Soup is packed with nutritious spinach. It gets its heartiness from basmati rice and its creaminess from yogurt and it’s bright flavor from fresh mint leaves.
Healthy Mediterranean food with fresh seasonal ingredients defines Syrian cuisine. Where I live, in New England, spring green is abounding. My reliable (insuppressible) mint plants are back in full force, attempting to vanquish the entire herb garden. Here’s a delicious, healthy, seasonal soup that features fresh mint and a mountain of spinach.
The elements of this dish are extremely simple: sautéed onions and garlic are the first layer. Fresh spinach is wilted in the pot and broth is added – vegetable or chicken.
Then raw basmati rice goes in with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The spinach soup thickens as it cooks for 15 minutes and the rice expands. Fresh mint is added towards the end so it retains its bright mintiness.
The spinach soup is then pureed. If you have an Immersion Blender I highly recommend it for this recipe. I love the convenience of being able to puree soup right in the pot. If not, a food processor or blender will work well too.
The final touch is the addition of creamy, tangy yogurt – some stirred through and a blob in the middle, for garnish. Add extra mint leaves for a festive touch.
If you’d like to make a whole Mediterranean feast around this spinach soup, there are lots of delicious possibilities.
If you want to be true to Syrian cuisine you must have Syrian bread at the table or, as we call it, pita. In Syria pita is eaten with every meal. It’s used for scooping or stuffing with hummus or leban (yogurt) or shawarma or falafel.
This recipe is adapted from a wonderful cookbook: Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
Here’s the recipe for Syrian Spinach Soup. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
SYRIAN SPINACH SOUP
Hearty spinach and rice soup with fresh mint and tangy yogurt.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 6-8
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Syrian
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 pounds fresh spinach, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped or 20 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.
- 7-8 cups vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
- 3/4 cup raw basmati rice or another long grain rice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 2-3 cups plain yogurt (full or low-fat, regular or greek)
- Optional Garnish: Mint sprigs for each bowl
- Cook The Soup: Heat oil in a large heavy pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cook onion and garlic until softened, about 8 minutes (don’t let them brown). Add spinach in batches, stirring and wilting the first batch to make room for the rest. If using frozen spinach, simply add it and proceed.
- When all the the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes, add 7 cups of broth, rice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Quickly lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in fresh mint and cook, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
- Process: Puree the soup to your desired consistency using an immersion blender or by transferring it to the bowl of a blender or food processor. I recommend pulsing it rather than pureeing, to retain some texture. If you want a thinner soup, add more broth.
- Stir 1-2 cups of yogurt into the soup, to taste. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- To Serve: Serve hot or chilled. Ladle into bowls and garnish each bowl with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and a sprig of mint, if you like.
- (note: If you need to reheat, be careful not to boil the soup once the yogurt is added or it will separate)
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