Chock Full o’ Greens Soup

greensoupI made this soup on Tuesday night, in somewhat of a panic to think that the fridge was still stocked full of greens from last week’s CSA and I would be picking up another load of CSA veggies from the farm on Wednesday.  I didn’t have a recipe in mind, so I just started pulling things out of the fridge and figured I would wing it.

I rarely make up a recipe from scratch; I often have a base recipe that I use for proportions, amount of herbs or spices, a main ingredient, around which I make modifications according to my taste and the contents of my larder.  This one was even more of an experiment, since I don’t normally do a lot of cooking with Asian greens and I don’t think I’ve ever put arugula in a soup before; I just had so many greens that I knew it was too much to simply saute and toss with pasta, and I did not have the time (or the eggs) to make a fritatta. It went something like this:

  • Throw an onion, some shallots and garlic into the food processor.  Get habanero pepper from my frozen stash. Hmm, I’ve used up all the small, green peppers; I’ve got a medium-sized orange one.  Should I use the whole thing?  I could use only half.  Well, I’ll take the seeds out – compromise.  I’m sure it will be fine.  Toss that into the processor and pulse away.
  • Saute diced veggies in soup pot.  Smelling yummy.
  • Add in about 4 cups water, bok choy and arugula, some bouillon, tomato paste and dried basil.  Stir and simmer.
  • Taste.  Holy GOD that’s spicy.  More water. More bouillon. More tomato paste.  Now it needs more greens.  Add tatsoi. Simmer.
  • Still Holy-God-spicy.  Rifle cabinet for grains. Curse myself that we are out of couscous.  Add last lingering bit of quinoa and half a bag of pasta. Add a bit more water. Note to self that we are also out of short-grain brown rice.  Decide I should, as precaution, cook some Basmati rice, just in case. Simmer.
  • Still very spicy, but at least won’t cause instant heart attack.  Grains must have helped.  Flavor is excellent once you get over the habanero-induced fireshock.  Think I can get away with serving this with lots of grated cheese and a bread roll. But… good thing I made the rice.
  • Serve over rice.  Sweat, while enjoying every bite.  Tai makes me promise to put this on the blog and to make it again.  Made it so.


Chock Full o’ Greens Soup


  • 1 cup uncooked brown Basmati rice (optional)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 small shallots
  • 1/2 head of garlic (about 8 small cloves)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium orange habanero pepper, seeds & ribs removed (frozen)
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 3 tbsp Better than Bouillon chicken base
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • about 4 cups bok choy, washed, stems trimmed, and shredded
  • about 2 cups arugula, washed, large stems removed, shredded
  • about 2 cups tatsoi, washed, stems trimmed, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried lemon basil
  • 2 tsp dried soup herbs (dill, thyme, savory mix)
  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 lb uncooked whole wheat pasta


  1. Cook rice in 2 cups of salted water; bring water to a boil, add rice, then reduce to a simmer and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. 
  2. Finely dice onion, shallots, garlic and habanero (I use the food processor).  Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium stock pot for 2-3 minutes, or until a few drops of water skitter across the surface of the oil.  Add diced onion, shallot, garlic and pepper.  Saute over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add water, bouillon, tomato paste, herbs, salt, and greens. (At this point I simmered the soup for about 5 minutes, then tasted, realized how incredibly spicy it was, and starting adding grains; you could easily add everything at once, or to keep the greens even fresher, add the grains first and the greens about 10 minutes later).  Add pasta and quinoa. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Serve over rice, or if it is not ridiculously spicy, serve as is.

Yields 8 servings.


  1. I originally added 1 whole habanero pepper to this soup and it came out far too spicy, hence the addition of any grain I could find in the cabinet (quinoa, pasta, rice, etc).  I’ve recommended cutting the habanero in half; in this case you could cut back on some of the grains, but I posted the rest of the recipe as I made it since it did have a great flavor.
  2. This soup can be made vegetarian with vegetable stock or Better than Bouillon vegetable base.


For about 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months frozen.


Late Spring into early Summer when greens are abundant.


  1. kim

    Hah, that was awesome! Oh the joys (and pains) of hot peppers. I’m all about asian veggies, when all else fails a huge batch of stir fry hits the spot!

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