Mountain Spinach Sour Soup. Delicious Light Recipe

by Mira

Easy, tasty traditional (and seasonal) Romanian sour soup, called "ciorbă de lobodă." Tasty, low-calorie recipe you could use in an intermittent fasting diet. Step-by-step photos.

We have soups (most of them broths) and sour soups here in Romania. Sour soups are made with borscht or simply lemon juice. One of the common sour soups around here is the one with mountain spinach (Artriplex hortensis, known as lobodă here in Romania; the soup is called ciorbă, the latter being the word of choice for sour soups).

I’m learning from Wikipedia that mountain spinach is also known as garden orache, red orach, or French spinach (some dictionaries also give it the name of pigweed – I’m not sure if that’s accurate). Its leaves come in red (purple), green, and yellow-green.

Note that the present recipe is a very simplified one. When we make soups, we usually start with a base that consists of various vegetables, most often onion, celeriac, parsley or parsnip root and carrots. I didn’t have that luxury tonight. I made the soup with the only things I had in the fridge: onions and carrots. The carrots were rather old and beginning to sprout, so I peeled them for the Ingredients photo. Some say that you shouldn’t eat garlic and onions and carrots that are beginning to sprout, but I always have some in my fridge that do and I just remove the green parts or, in this case, peal the carrots knowing they’ll still look OK. Of course, it’s always best to eat fresh veggies, but at the same time I don’t want to get stuck with no veggies in the house, hence the old carrots (two weeks) I used for this dish. (My mother, who keeps telling me to buy only the food I plan to cook, wouldn’t be exactly proud.)

This soup is a wonderfully refreshing and such an easy, quick recipe. It takes less than 30 minutes to make. In terms of spices, I used only salt, white pepper, and garlic.

Mountain Spinach Sour Soup. Ingredients
Mountain Spinach Sour Soup. Ingredients
© Mira at Wizzley

What Does Mountain Spinach Taste Like?

Well, it tastes like spinach. It also reminds me of the taste of vine tendrils. All and all, this garden orache (how is that pronounced, by the way?) tastes like a rather neutral green leaf as compared to patience dock (also known as monk’s rhubarb – and here in Romania as ștevie; Latin name: Rumex patientia), which I cooked last night, a whole kilo of it. Patience dock has a sour taste. I wouldn’t want it in salads myself (even though on second thought I guess its lemony taste could be nice if the leaves are cut into thin strips). Mountain spinach, on the other hand, is actually quite delicious. I could eat a whole lot of it fresh in a mixed salad. It’s also very good in this sour soup, which is why I’m writing this page.


Prep time 15 min  -  Total time 30 min
Ingredients for 8 servings
1 large onion or 2 smaller ones  • 3 medium-large carrots  • 250 grams mountain spinach  • 8 tbsp olive oil  • 2 tsp salt  • 4 tsp garlic powder  • ½ tsp white pepper  • 200 grams / 7 oz tomato purée

Instructions

1. Chop the onion(s).
2. Sauté the onion(s) in olive oil for 1 minute. Add the salt at this stage as well.
3. Add 2 liters (67 fl oz) of water.
4. Add the carrots. Boil the carrots for 10 minutes.
5. Rinse every mountain spinach leaf and then peel the leaves off the stems. Set them aside.
6. Add the mountain spinach to the soup.
7. Add the white pepper, garlic powder, and puréed tomatoes. Cover and boil for another 3 minutes.
8. Add the juice of one lemon.
9. Serve with sour cream or yogurt. Traditionally, it's also garnished with lovage.

Recipe  5.0/5 Stars (1 Votes)

Mountain Spinach Sour Soup

Step-by-Step Photos
Chop the onion and carrots
Chop the onion and carrots
© Mira at Wizzley
Sauté the onion in olive oil
Sauté the onion in olive oil
© Mira at Wizzley
Add two liters of water
Add two liters of water
© Mira at Wizzley
Add carrots. Boil 10 mins.
Add carrots. Boil 10 mins.
© Mira at Wizzley
Rinse and peel the mountain spinach
Rinse and peel the mountain spinach
© Mira at Wizzley
Add m. sp. & spices. Leave 3 more mins.
Add m. sp. & spices. Leave 3 more mins.
© Mira at Wizzley
Add the juice of 1 lemon
Add the juice of 1 lemon
© Mira at Wizzley
Serve with yogurt or sour cream
Serve with yogurt or sour cream
© Mira at Wizzley

A Note on the Garlic

Romanians don’t use garlic in their soups or sour soups. I personally don’t see how you can’t use garlic in a soup like this one. It’s the perfect spice for it. I didn’t have fresh garlic, so I used powdered garlic. I usually like to use both in the same recipe.

Enjoy!

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Updated: 10/29/2015, Mira
 
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Mira on 08/22/2015

Yes, that's probably it. I looked in the menu and they all seemed safe, but of course they don't list all their spices.

Veronica on 08/22/2015

I love indian food but it depends on the restaurant as to how hot the food is. Some restaurants use different spices and each part of India of course has its own beautiful cuisine. One restaurant near us though, the chef uses a lot of Asafoetida and I can't take that particularly spice. Maybe your place uses a particular spice that you are intolerant of.

Mira on 08/22/2015

The same happens to me when I eat Indian food here in Romania. I've only been to one restaurant, and only a few times. The food is delicious but then I get bloated. I've eaten Indian food elsewhere and I've been fine. I haven't yet figured out what exactly causes the problem here. And I continue to go because the food is delicious and I like the place.

frankbeswick on 08/22/2015

I don't know. Peter,my second son, loves spices more than they love him. He will devour spicy food then sometimes have a bad stomach. The others are pretty ordinary in this respect.

Mira on 08/22/2015

Did you also pass them to any of your kids?:)

frankbeswick on 08/21/2015

My wife reckons that I should have used fewer chillis. But as the son of a man who loved spices I have a propensity to take very spicy food. My father must have passed his taste buds to me.

Mira on 08/21/2015

That's a nice recipe, Frank! I have a feeling I will make a pot of spicy soup soon :D

frankbeswick on 08/21/2015

Firstly a correction, I should have said the soup maker uses up to 750 grams rather than 450.

Here is this evening's soup. I took some spare spaghetti bolognaise [not much] and added one potato, two small onions, a few tomatoes, a few peas, three courgettes, 7 chillis [too much for many people, so fewer might have been better] some baby carrots, three stock cubes, a table spoon of salt, a sprinkle of paprika, a sprinkling of pepper and a taste of Worcester sauce. All the vegetables were grown on my allotment. About 720 grams in all. Added water to the maximum of the soup maker. With it I had several slices of home made bread fresh from the bread maker. The result was a rich, brown spicy soup. Very spicy, but that's how I like it. I take after my father, who loved very spicy food.

There is no recipe, just whatever ingredients you have available.

The soup maker takes a minute or two to clean.

Veronica on 08/21/2015

Your lovely article prompted me to write a post on getting children to eat vegetables . Posted only this afternoon, it has already had so many visits. TY for the idea, Mira.

Mira on 08/21/2015

Frank: This certainly saves time using and cleaning different pots when making a soup. I couldn't get mine done in 22 minutes. :)


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