Spinach Soup Recipe
on Oct 12, 2023
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Spanachena Supa, or Bulgarian Spinach Soup , is a culinary gem 💎 that captures the essence of Bulgarian cuisine. This heartwarming soup combines the earthy flavors of fresh spinach 🌿 with a rich, creamy broth to create a comforting and nutritious dish that has been cherished for generations.
This soup holds a special place in my heart ❤️, evoking a rush of nostalgia that takes me back to the treasured moments of my childhood. Each spoonful of this soup is a taste of the past – a reminder of my family in Bulgaria gathered around the kitchen table enjoying this soup freshly made by my grandma 👵 (Bapche). To her, Spanachena Supa was more than just food. It was a way to bring our family together to share hugs, laughs and create heartfelt memories that I’ll cherish forever .
As I recreate this recipe now, I hope to share not just a delicious dish, but also a piece of my childhood, my family, and my Bulgarian roots 🤗.
Why You’ll Love Spinach Soup Recipe
Packed with fresh spinach, herbs 🌿, and a creamy broth, this Bulgarian Spinach Soup 🍲 it’s a wholesome meal that’s incredibly nutritious. You’ll get your daily dose of vitamins and antioxidants in every spoonful 🥄.
Most importantly, the recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, making it accessible for all levels of home cooks 👩🍳. You’ll be amazed at how something so simple can be so satisfying 🤤.
Whether you’re seeking a comforting bowl of soup 🍲 on a chilly evening or looking to explore the flavors of Eastern Europe, my Spinach Soup recipe will transport you my grandma’s kitchen in the Bulgarian country-side 🇧🇬 and the flavours of my childhood 😋.
How to Prepare This Spinach Soup Recipe
To make Bulgarian spinach soup, begin by thawing a bag of spinach 🌿 in the fridge overnight or leave it out on the counter to soften for about an hour before using. In a large pot over medium-high heat 🔥, add and heat up some olive oil.
Next, add finely diced onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables turn translucent. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the thawed chopped spinach 🌿.
Cook for a few more minutes, adding a generous pinch of salt 🧂and rinsed rice, stirring the ingredients together. Remember that salt is to taste, so start with a teaspoon and adjust as needed once the soup is ready to avoid blandness.
Now, add the tomato sauce 🥫 and unsalted vegetable broth (I use Kettle and Fire – get 20% off with my code: THEMODERNNONNA), bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and semi-cover with a lid, leaving an opening. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes ⏲️ or until the rice is fully cooked. Finally, remove the soup from the heat, stir in a splash of cream, and your Bulgarian spinach soup is ready to enjoy!
For the traditional Bulgarian “Zastroika” method, prepare a separate bowl with one egg yolk 🥚 and a bit of milk 🥛 or plain yogurt. Take ladles of the spinach soup broth (one at a time). While whisking it into the egg and milk mixture off the heat, temper the egg. Once the egg is tempered, add this mixture back into the soup. This technique adds a creamy richness to the soup without the need for cream, giving it a distinctive Bulgarian 🇧🇬 touch.
Variations and Substitutions
This Spinach Soup Recipe is a versatile dish that allows for various substitutions and personalizations. Here are some variations and substitutions you can consider:
- Leafy Greens: While spinach is traditional, you can substitute it with other leafy greens. Swiss chard, kale, or collard greens 🌿 are great options for a unique twist.
- Vegetable Broth: If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan version, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Protein: Enhance the soup’s protein content by adding cooked chicken🍗, turkey, or even tofu cubes.
- Grains: Instead of rice, experiment with other grains 🌾 like quinoa , barley, or small pasta shapes like orzo.
- Cream Alternatives: If you’re looking for dairy-free options, use coconut milk 🥥or cashew cream.
- Spices and Herbs: Customize the flavor profile by adding spices like paprika, cumin, or red pepper flakes 🌶️. Fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or cilantro can also provide a burst of freshness.
- Spicy Kick: For those who enjoy spiciness 🥵, consider adding a dash of hot sauce or diced jalapeños.
- Gluten-Free: If you’re gluten-sensitive, make sure to use gluten-free grains 🌾 or gluten-free pasta instead.
- Zastroika Variation: Embrace the traditional Bulgarian method by tempering the soup with an egg yolk 🥚 and milk 🥛 mixture for a rich, creamy finish.
Best Served With
- Serve the soup with slices of crusty bread or a warm baguette 🥖. My No Knead Peasant Bread, Cheesy Roasted Garlic Bread or No Knead Focaccia would all be perfect for dipping into the creamy broth or mopping up the last bits of soup in your bowl.
- Traditionally, we serve this soup with salty crumbled Bulgarian Feta cheese 🧀 on top or a dollop of Bulgarian yogurt. If you want the full Bulgarian experience, consider adding these for added creaminess.
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Yes, you can use fresh spinach in this recipe. Simply wash and chop the fresh spinach and add it to the soup during the sautéing step until it wilts.
Traditionally, short-grain rice is used in Bulgarian Spinach Soup. However, you can use any type of rice you prefer, including long-grain or brown rice. I used jasmine rice for this recipe.
Yes, you can make the soup ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop when ready to serve.
To make the soup vegan, substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. You can also use plant-based cream alternatives like coconut milk or cashew cream instead of dairy cream.
Yes, you can freeze the soup. However, it’s best to do so before adding any cream or dairy-based ingredients. Freeze in airtight containers for up to 2-3 months, and when reheating, you can add the cream or dairy alternative.
“Zastroika” is a traditional Bulgarian technique where you temper the soup broth with an egg yolk and milk mixture. To do this, prepare a separate bowl with one egg yolk and a bit of milk or plain yogurt. Take ladles of the spinach soup broth (one at a time). While whisking it into the egg and milk mixture off the heat, temper the egg. Once the egg is tempered, add this mixture back into the soup.
The soup itself is naturally gluten-free. However, if you choose to add grains like rice or pasta, be sure to use gluten-free varieties.
Yes you can, simply add more broth or reduce the rice to 1/3 cup. If the soup becomes too thick the following day, you can add more broth to it to thin it out.
Spinach Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 celery ribs, finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 300 grams frozen spinach (thawed), bag of frozen (chopped) spinach
- salt, to taste
- ½ cup jasmine rice, rinsed
- ½ cup tomato sauce, plain, mine only has tomatoes, salt, and basil in it
- 8 cups vegetable broth, I use unsalted
- ¼ cup cream , (optional at the end) I used 15% MF
- Thaw the bag of spinach in the fridge overnight or leave it out on the counter to soften for about an hour before using.
- In a big pot on medium-high heat, add and heat up the olive oil.
- Add the finely diced onion, carrots, celery, garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
- When the vegetables are translucent, stir in the tomato paste.
- Add in the thawed chopped spinach and cook for a few minutes. Add a big pinch of salt and the rinsed rice. Stir.
- Note: Salt is always to taste, start with a teaspoon and taste and adjust for more when the soup is ready. Add a little at a time until the soup is flavourful otherwise the soup will taste bland if you don't add enough.
- Add the tomato sauce and unsalted veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and semi-cover with a lid (leaving an opening).
- Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Take the soup off the heat, add in a splash of cream and enjoy!
- Please also feel free to make a Bulgarian "Zastroika" if you know how to. Take a look at this method below.
- Zastroika: is very common soup method in Bulgaria and how we finish off our soups. In a separate bowl, we add one egg yolk with some milk (or plain yogurt) in it. We then take the spinach soup broth (one ladle at a time) simultaneously whisking it into the egg and milk mixture off the heat. Once the egg has "tempered" we add it all back into the soup! This method adds a creamy richness without the need for cream.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.