Frozen Spinach Is The Perfect Way To Bulk Up Pretty Much Any Soup

Soup is one of those dishes that transcends cultures, seasons, and occasions. A comforting lunch, a tantalizing entrée, or a nourishing medley, soup is as unique and diverse as animal species or stars in the sky. While broth-based soups, like miso, are favored for their light consistency, other soups are relished for their thick blend of vegetables. So say you want to bulk up your soup or reach a chunkier texture quickly; what do you do? The answer is frozen spinach.

Frozen spinach is a mid-week lifesaver. It's a wondrous addition that can substitute fresh spinach in almost any meal (obviously, a salad may be a push). Since it's likely blanched before packaging, it's also a faster way to inject a boost of iron straight into a soup without waiting for it to wilt first. In the final minutes of cooking, pour a packet of frozen spinach into your soup mixture. This will give it ample time to thaw before it's ready to serve. Since spinach has such a mild flavor, it's easy to add to just about any soup to bulk it up.

It's bulking season

While frozen spinach can be added straight to the soup pot, other recipes may require it to be thawed first. Why is this? The excess water in frozen spinach may offset other flavors in the soup, so prepare to balance this if you're pouring it straight in from the packet. Otherwise, you can thaw the spinach in a zip-top defrosting bag in the refrigerator overnight. If you're in a hurry, place the frozen spinach in a colander and run warm water over it until the leaves are no longer icy. Squeeze out the excess water before adding it to the soup. While you may consider canned spinach a worthy alternative that skips the defrosting stage, it's worth noting that it undergoes more processing than its frozen counterpart. This, in turn, affects its taste and texture.

Need a little inspiration? Frozen spinach could easily be added to a tortellini soup. Pick out your favorite cheese tortellini (a 9-ounce pack) and simmer it in six cups of chicken stock for 3 minutes. Stir in one can of Italian tomatoes, followed by 1 to 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, and one package of chopped frozen spinach (that has been thawed and squeezed). Season this mixture with salt, pepper, and basil, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. This produces a bowl filled with glorious cheesy pasta, hearty sweet tomatoes, and tender spinach.

For those that favor smooth soup

While you may appreciate frozen spinach's bite to a soup, you may also prefer a smoother consistency. No problem, frozen spinach can be added to soup and then blended. This will also turn your soup a fantastic lime green color, which may not be achieved when combining the spinach without blending. For a simple spinach soup, pour a frozen packet of spinach into a pot of stock (vegetable or chicken) and simmer until hot through, then puree the mixture and serve. This can be served hot or cold, making it perfect for summer afternoons or gloomy winter days. It can also be topped with sour cream or yogurt for added color and creamy flavor.

In case a soup recipe calls for fresh spinach, it's important to note that one pound of fresh spinach will cook down to one cup of spinach, while a 10-ounce packet of frozen spinach will cook down to one and a half cups. Perhaps throughout this article, you've pondered — what's the issue with fresh spinach? Why can't that transform my soups? Frozen spinach is usually superior to fresh spinach regarding nutrients and flavor. Unless your fresh spinach is sourced locally, it was likely harvested days before it reached the store shelf. So while frozen spinach is a great way to bulk up your soups, it may also be a potentially tastier one.