Limas, favas, and edamame are all sold frozen, and are all a bit firmer and chalkier than other legumes; they also have a pleasantly vegetal taste. And yes, go ahead and use frozen spinach if you really want to save time.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 30 Minutes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Red chile flakes (optional)
- 1 15-ounce can tomato purée
- 2 cups frozen lima beans
- 3 cups vegetable stock (pages 97–100) or water
- 1½ pounds spinach, trimmed of thick stems and chopped,
- or 1 10-ounce bag frozen spinach
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
How to Make It
- Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and become translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in a pinch of chile flakes if you’d like.
- Add the tomato purée, beans, and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the spinach and bring to a boil again. Lower the heat so the soup bubbles gently but steadily. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach softens and the soup thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve, sprinkled with some cheese if you’d like.
- FROZEN FAVA–ESCAROLE SOUP Frozen fava beans are increasingly available and are creamier than lima beans: Use them here instead and substitute escarole for the spinach. (You’ll only find it fresh; however, you can always substitute another frozen green like mustard or collards.)
- FROZEN EDAMAME–BOK CHOY SOUP Some simple swaps: Instead of olive oil, use 2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil; edamame for the limas; and bok choy for the spinach. (You’ll only find it fresh; however, you can substitute another frozen green like mustard or spinach.) In Step 1, go easy on the salt, and add 2 tablespoons soy sauce in Step 2 along with the stock. Instead of the Parmesan, garnish with chopped peanuts if you’d like and pass more soy sauce and sesame oil at the table.
- CANNED CHICKPEA AND SAFFRON SOUP If you ever see fresh chickpeas, grab them; figure they’ll take 30 to 60 minutes to get tender. Otherwise you can make this soup with canned chickpeas, which share a similar texture with the frozen beans used here. Add a pinch of saffron (or smoked paprika) along with the salt and pepper, and garnish the finished soup with chopped toasted almonds.