Watercress Mint Soup

This morning, I woke up to my dog pawing my head.  As I opened my eyes, I had to admit his urgency was warranted.  Outside it looked like spring exploded overnight!  The sun was shining.  The cherry blossoms were everywhere.  The sweet smell of spring was wafting it's way through the open window.  "Ok, ok buddy", I thought, "It's time to go OUT!"  

Every week, I try to make soup.  I love it.  If I didn't love being creative in the kitchen, I would probably eat soup for every meal.  And today's soup feels like spring.  Watercress, fresh mint, noodles, leeks and white beans mingle in a clear, lemon garlic broth.  It's fresh and comforting without being too heavy or rich.  And even though it's warmer today than it's been all year, I found myself going back for another bowl. 

Part of watercress's appeal is it's sharp flavor.  After all, it's in the same family as radishes, mustard, and wasabi. Eating it raw heightens the pungency, but cooking it mellows it out.  If you have a hard time finding watercress, sub in another preferred green, like arugula or spinach.

  A fresh rinsed bunch of watercress

A fresh rinsed bunch of watercress

Watercress Mint Soup

1 large leek, thinly sliced

2-3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cups broth (fake chicken or vegetable)

2 cups water

¼-½ cup nutritional yeast

Juice of 1 lemon

1 15 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed

2 ounces of spaghetti (or 1 serving), torn in half

½-1 tsp crushed red pepper

¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves

4 cups watercress leaves

1-2 tsp agave

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

1. In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and add leeks, garlic and a dash of salt.  Sauté for 3 minutes.  Add crushed red pepper, black pepper (to taste), nutritional yeast, lemon juice, broth, water, and beans.  Bring to boil.  

2. Once at a boil, add broken spaghetti.  Cook about 6 minutes or until spaghetti are slightly firm.  Then, add parsley, mint, and watercress.  Remove from heat and stir in agave.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve with nutritional yeast sprinkled over the top.

Watercress Mint Soup