Cooking For One: Weekday Detox

TYPE: Weekday Detox
MENU: Green Goddess Soup with Zucchini, Chard, and Cilantro

You could say my mother instilled in me at an early age a love for vegetables. But really she just made me a food snob, exposing me to haute baby food by asking the waiter to run her leftover veal scallopini through a blender to bring home to me or ordering the vichyssoises at family dinners out instead of cutting up baby pieces of bland chicken breast for my ease of consumption. Having grown up with my grandmother’s green beans with hollandaise sauce (one of her few memorable dishes) my mother’s food habits evolved into a hybrid of gourmand and health nut—forever conscious of cottonseed oil and aluminum, but never shying away from a pat or two of butter. And though I may have needed the occassional airplane to the mouth enactment, I imagine that I shared the same enthusiam as I do today for her cuisine, be it in liquid or solid form.

Now I am no longer of the age where I need to pretend that I am a giantess and my broccoli little trees below me, but there still remains one limit to my consumption: the detox soup. Growing up I remember spotting these saran wrap-covered mugs of green goop in the refrigerator. I assumed that this soup of sorts—what my mother viewed as her secret humpty-dumpty food—served some medicinal purpose beyond the fact that its ingredients were inherently good for you, for my mother did have a tendancy to sneak strange homeopathic drops into my normal food.

Regardless of what it was, I deemed it too scary, and too healthy, to sample—way more along the lines of the neti pot my parents are constantly trying to get me to use than the green beans of my childhood.

It wasn’t until a weekend over the summer that I came home totally in need of some pampering and detox, that my mother called upon the cure-all graces of this soup, and I obliged. It turned out that like most humpty-dumpty concoctions, the soup was delicious.

This past weekend I was again in need of a little healthy regression and decided to escape to the little barn my parents have been renting upstate. My first request, followed shortly by one for a foot massage, was for this soup. It was wonderful, if as vile looking as ever, and certainly got me back on my feet for another long week of work and an inevitable weekend re-tox.

From my small kitchen, where my mother still gets me to eat my vegetables, to yours,


my mother, staring lovingly at the moldy green rim of her soup mug

Green Goddess Soup with Zucchini, Chard, and Cilantro
Makes 3 Servings

2 zucchini
1 bunch swiss chard stems and leaves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, stem ends removed, coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken stock (or veggie)
½ lemon
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt

In a medium dutch oven, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Add the chard stalks and simmer for 4 minutes, or until they start becoming tender. Add the chard leaves, zucchini, and salt. Replace lid and simmer for another 4 minutes or so. When the vegetables are beginning to soften, but are not completely cooked through, add the cilantro and cook for an additional minute (you just want the herbs to wilt slightly).

Remove greens from pot, and set cooking liquids aside for another use. Blend the greens in a food processor or blender, adding some of the liquids as necessary to obtain your desired texture.

Add the lemon, cayenne, and taste for seasoning.

Serve in a mug or bowl, and enjoy.

Posted in: Single Serving
  • Treehouse Chef

    This looks yummy!!!! I love soup and eat it year round. Can’t wait to try this.

  • Nicole

    Yummy, the best thing about soup is it freezes soooo well! I made a huge vat of soup and froze it in those little tupperware containers.

  • Phoebe and Cara, The Quarter-Life Cooks

    Yes, the tupperware trick is what makes soups such a great cooking for one item. I’m always freezing portions for a lazy day a few weeks down the line.

  • Beth J

    This looks great. What “other use” would you suggest for the cooking liquids?

    • BGSK

      Hi Beth! You will likely use most of them in the soup itself. For a revised recipe, you can check out the one for this soup in our book! It’s been tested multiple times and I believe leaves you with no cooking liquids at the end. The liquids are really just a yummy stock, so you can use it in anything that calls for that, just know that it might leave whatever you’re cooking a little greener than regular stock :) Enjoy!

  • Jazz

    I really want to try this but I can’t stand cilantro- do you think it would work with basil?

  • Jazz

    I really want to try this but I can’t stand cilantro- do you think it would work with basil?

  • Molly

    I made this over the weekend with my boyfriend. We followed the recipe for the most part, but added a lot more cayenne than suggested.  We also didn’t drain the veggies and just attacked everything in the pot with the stick blender.  If I make this again I think i would sautee a few cloves of garlic and toss them in for additional flavor.

    • BGSK

      i hope it was delicious!

  • Phillipa

    Just stumbled across you site and I love it! This looks delicious and perfect because courgette (as we call it in the UK!) is in season at the moment.  Yum. Thanks for sharing,

  • aussiegirl

    Cilantro is a great detoxifier for heavy metals. Especially mercury.

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