It’s December 18, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already eaten your fair share of holiday treats. Between the Triple Chocolate Cookies, Apple Spice Donuts, and Chocolate Cheesecake, I’ve had my hands full (of sweets). So, I thought it was time to share a really healthy recipe! A detoxifying Vegan Green Goddess Soup!
Will this soup actually detox your body? I have no idea. But what I do know is that this soup feels like a much-needed detox after a few weeks of eating rich holiday treats. But before you think that this recipe is for a green brothy soup à la the Cabbage Soup Diet, let’s get things straight: this is a creamy, satisfying, delicious soup. I will let the photos speak for the creaminess.
And for the health benefits? This soup starts off with anti-inflammatory garlic and crushed red pepper. Then it gets hit with two of my favorite cruciferous vegetables: Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Brussels sprouts are rich in glucosinolates, which help activate the detoxification of cancer-causing substances in the body. So maybe this soup does really detoxify your body! Brussels sprouts also offer numerous benefits in the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, and cardiovascular departments. And then there’s cauliflower, my favorite humble vegetable. In addition to boasting many of the same health benefits as Brussels sprouts, it also contributes a creamy texture to this soup.
Next come raw cashews, which bring a lot of creaminess to this soup, making it feel almost indulgent (no diet soup here!). They’re brimming with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which are linked with improved heart health and a reduction in triglycerides. Cashews are also an excellent source of copper and magnesium, both of which contribute to bone health (among many other benefits).
Finally, this soup gets a healthy dose of green things: spinach and fresh herbs. As you may already know, spinach is incredibly rich in a wide variety of minerals and vitamins. Just 1 cup of cooked spinach provides over 1/3 of your daily iron needs and almost 1000% of your daily Vitamin K needs (yes, 1000 with three zeros). And the fresh herbs—parsley, basil, and mint—aren’t here just to add flavor. They’re also packed with nutrients.
Parsley is exceptionally rich in myricetin, a flavonoid that has been shown to protect against both skin cancer and diabetes. Basil contains volatile oils that have the ability to inhibit unwanted bacterial growth and inflammation-causing enzymes. And mint is loaded with antioxidants that may reduce oxidative stress in the body, and is also a great home remedy for indigestion, gas, and upset stomachs.
Now that we’ve gone through a nutritional deep dive in this soup, I’ll leave you with a few tips on preparing this soup. I prefer to use vegetable broth instead of water, as it adds a more robust flavor, especially if you use a homemade or high-quality broth; however, if you’re a foodie and you want this soup to be pretty and perfectly green, you’ll want to use water. For the Brussels sprouts, in order for them to cook down quickly, I use shaved or shredded Brussels sprouts. You can find pre-shredded Brussels sprouts at many grocery stores, but if you want to prepare them yourself, here are easy instructions on how to do so using a food processor. Same thing with the cauliflower - to ensure they cook quickly, I chopped them into small florets. If you want to minimize the chopping, you can toss large florets into a food processor and pulse a few times until you have small pieces. Once this soup gets puréed, it gets surprisingly creamy, but if you are looking for more creaminess, add in the optional coconut milk.
So, if your body is feeling like it needs a detox during the holidays, try this heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich Vegan Green Goddess Soup!
Vegan Green Goddess Soup
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (to taste, optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
3 cups of shredded/shaved Brussels sprouts
1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small florets
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 1 hour
3 large handfuls of baby spinach (add more if you’d like)
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped + more for garnish
1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped + more for garnish
1/2 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped + more for garnish
3 tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice
1 cup canned coconut milk, lite or regular (optional, for extra creaminess)
Black sesame seeds
Vegan yogurt or coconut milk
Toasted pine nuts
Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Once shimmering, add the onions and celery and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are starting to soften and turn lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the vegetable broth (or water) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the broth for 10 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cashews and bring to vigorous simmer/gentle boil for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Transfer the soup to a high-powered blender and add the spinach, mint, basil, parsley, the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper to taste, lemon juice, and coconut milk (if using). Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in batches. Remove the blender cap to prevent trapping the steam inside the blender and cover the hole with a dish towel. Blend the soup until it is completely smooth and thick. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more broth or water as needed to thin out. Season to taste with salt/pepper. If desired, garnish with additional fresh herbs and cucumber ribbons, black sesame seeds, vegan yogurt, and toasted pine nuts.