Frozen Beans and Greens Soup

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Frozen Beans and Greens SoupLimas, 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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