Sector 5 Flower Soup

Aeris Gainsborough in Midgar“They say you can’t grow grass and flowers in Midgar. But for some reason, the flowers have no trouble blooming here.”

—Aeris Gainsborough, FFVII

Nasturtiums are one of the easiest things you can grow in your garden — just scatter a handful of seeds and they’ll keep coming back every year like beautiful weeds. You can also buy fresh nasturtium flowers at Whole Foods.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, chopped and rinsed (about 2 cups)
  • 24 garlic cloves (about 2 bulbs), peeled and halved, divided into two piles
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ cup white quinoa (about 3 oz.)
  • ½ cup red quinoa (about 3 oz.)
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 15-oz. can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch fresh kale (about 10 oz.)
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens (about 10 oz.)
  • A handful of nasturtium flowers
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add leeks, half the garlic, and salt, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the garlic is browning too quickly.

Stir in quinoa. Add broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, about 20 minutes, until quinoa is tender. Meanwhile, rinse the kale and dandelion greens, then chop into bite-size pieces.

Remove the pot from heat and stir in the kale and dandelion greens, nasturtiums, lemon juice, honey, and white pepper. Use a garlic press to add the remaining garlic to the pot. Stir well, divide into bowls, and serve immediately for best results.

Makes 7 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving: 297 calories, 9.3 g. fat, 1.1 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 5.6 g. mono. fat, 673.1 mg. sodium, 100.4 mg. potassium, 44.1 g. carbohydrates, 9.7 g. fiber, 10.2 g. protein, vitamin A 121%, vitamin C 90%, calcium 17%, iron 25%