There’s no better comfort food than a steaming bowl of homemade, hearty soup. This wholesome dish is absolutely bursting with goodness, delivering incredible flavour and offering a host of fun textures, too. Nutrient-rich watercress and the humble pea combine to make an incredibly deep rich green, so green in fact that you feel healthful simply by looking at looking at it!
If you think you can only top your soup with croutons, think again. For a light and gluten free alternative, buttery herbed popcorn nestles on top of the soup, providing a delicious crunch that’ll make you wonder why you’ve never tried it before!
This is one of my absolute favourites, with the mountain of white popcorn gloriously set off against the greenest of greens.
For the Soup
- Butter, ghee or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks (about 120g trimmed weight), roughly chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, chopped
- 110g peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 ear of sweetcorn, kernels sliced off
- 125g yellow split peas, rinsed
- 625–750ml vegetable stock
- 200g watercress, leaves and stalks
- 375ml full-cream milk or milk substitute, such as almond or coconut milk
- Large handful of mint leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Popcorn
- 1½ teaspoons coconut or rapeseed oil, or butter
- 40g popping corn, preferably organic
- 2 teaspoons melted butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon finely shredded mint leaves, plus extra to serve
- ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder or granules
- Heat a tiny bit of butter, ghee or olive oil in a saucepan and gently sweat the onion with a large pinch of salt until soft and translucent. Add the celery and cook for another few minutes before adding the garlic.
- Cook for another minute or so, then add half the peas and half the sweetcorn kernels, with the split peas and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes, until the split peas are tender.
- While the soup is cooking, make the popcorn. Heat the oil or butter in deep saucepan and scatter the popcorn over the base. Cover with a lid and wait for a few minutes until they start to pop.
- Meanwhile, mix together the melted butter, salt, mint and garlic powder. As soon as the popping has slowed down significantly, pour this mixture over the popcorn. Remove from the heat, cover with the lid and give the pan a few good shakes. Set aside.
- As soon as the split peas are tender, add the watercress and cook just until the leaves wilt. Remove from the heat and add the milk and mint leaves.
- Blend until smooth, then return to the pan, stir in the remaining peas and sweetcorn and season with salt and pepper. Reheat briefly and gently before serving.
- Serve the soup in bowls topped with a mound of popcorn, some shredded mint and the remaining spice crumbs from the bottom of the popcorn pan. Don’t stir the popcorn into the soup as you eat it, as it will turn soggy and not be nearly as much fun to eat.
Want to Eat More Greens?
Discover plenty of appetising, inventive ways to eat your greens in Zita Steyn’s Good Better Green: The most inventive recipes to help you eat more greens (Quadrille Publishing).
Feature image by Nassima Rothacker.