I had never thought of using lettuce in soup, until I read that it was one of the classic French soups while planning the ‘Be Our Guest’ menu inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
I adapted this from a French recipe, which normally calls for butter and heavy cream, to be dairy-free and vegan. To preserve the nutrients, the lettuce are added into the soup tureen after the heat is turned off; the residual heat is sufficient to wilt the leaves while maintaining its verdant green colour and flavour. You may use any type of lettuce such as Romaine or Bibb. Broad beans and watermelon seed butter is used to thicken the soup. Quick and easy to prepare, high in protein and bursting with the sweetness of broad beans and lettuce, this soup will definitely make repeat appearances!
Befittingly in the opening scene ‘Belle’ of Beauty and the Beast, Belle had gushed that she’d “just finished the most wonderful story about a beanstalk and an ogre” while on her way to the bookshop. Since this soup contains beans and is a chartreuse green, it reminds me of a beanstalk like in the story!
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
- 80 g (1 medium) onion
- 1.2 L (5 cups) vegetable stock
- 320 g (2 cups) broad beans, peeled (from frozen or pre-cooked)
- 280 g (1 large head) Romaine lettuce or (3 small heads) Bibb lettuce, chopped
- 240 ml (1 cup) almond cream or 48 g (3 tbsp) watermelon seed butter
- Handful of fresh herbs (mint, parsley), chopped
- Coconut bacon
- Pesto croutons
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute onion in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, add the the broad beans and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the lettuce. Stir to wilt lettuce. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer the mixture into a blender. Add in the almond cream or watermelon seed butter, then blend on high until smooth.
- Optional step - Strain the soup through a sieve for a fine, velvety texture if you like.
- Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with herbs, mushrooms, coconut bacon or croutons.
- Instead of broad beans, try peas or other beans.
- To make almond cream, blend one part almonds with two parts water and strain.
- Watermelon seed butter I've used is Dastony brand. You may substitute light or hulled tahini.