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Lettuce soup is a general term for an array of recipes for soups or stews that use assorted varieties of lettuce, a green leafy vegetable. The final results for lettuce soup may be in different textures, where some of these vegetable soups will be puréed, and others will feature less processed strips of lettuce and other vegetables. Although lettuce is most commonly used in salads, especially in many Western food cultures, it has become somewhat popular to use this vegetable in soups as well.
One of the benefits of making lettuce soup for many cooks is that older lettuce, which has wilted, can still be useful in soup, when it’s withered texture would make it undesirable as a salad ingredient. While cooking the lettuce may reduce its overall nutritional value, the lettuce still provides fiber and other nutrition as a soup ingredient. Different recipes for this kind of soup may be vegetarian, or they may include various animal products, such as chicken stock or other broth as a base.
Along with a liquid base and a significant amount of lettuce, these sorts of soup recipes often include garlic and onions for flavor. A wide variety of herbs such as chives, tarragon, parsley, oregano, or other common green herbs may also be used to enhance the flavor of the soup. Some lettuce soups feature milk or other dairy products to give the result a creamier texture or to provide a more robust taste. Soups using dairy may require more careful preparation, where simpler recipes can be as simple as boiling all of the ingredients, or simmering them until flavors blend.
Besides lettuce, some other similar vegetables can also contribute to this type of soup recipe. One of these is bok choy, a specific Oriental variety of cabbage. Radish leaves, cabbage, or other leafy vegetable elements can also complement lettuce in a soup.
These types of soup recipes provide the opportunity to use leftover lettuce effectively, but many cooks may also pursue lettuce soup recipes for presenting nutritious foods to an audience. As a green vegetable, lettuce has superior nutritional value to many other common soup ingredients such as red meats. Part of the appeal of many lettuce soups is related to consumers who are looking for lighter fare for diet plans.