Prepare thyme crisps (if making): Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, toss all crisp ingredients. Place 6 1-tbsp mounds of mixture, evenly spaced apart, on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat the mounds, using your fingers, into 3½- to 4-inch rounds.
Bake for 8 minutes until crisps are light brown. Set aside to cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then use a metal spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a cool baking sheet, repeat to cook remaining crisps.
Meanwhile, fill a small pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add spinach and cook until thawed, about 2 minutes. Add watercress and continue to cook just 2 minutes more. Drain and cool quickly under cold running water. Continue to drain in strainer, squeezing out as much water from spinach and watercress as possible. (NOTE: If using fresh spinach instead of frozen, blanch for only 2 minutes at the same time as watercress.)
In a large saucepan on medium-low, heat oil. Add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and beginning to turn golden. Add garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add broth, increase heat to high and bring to a simmer; remove from heat.
To a blender, add spinach, watercress, mint and stock mixture. Blend until smooth. Add butter, lemon juice, pepper and remaining 1 tsp salt; continue to blend until fully incorporated. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve soup in individual bowls. If using, add a dollop of crème fraîche and a few cheesy thyme crisps.
Hearty, nourishing chickpeas make this a soup that’s satisfying enough for a meal. The earthy flavors of the spices are reminiscent of a Middle Eastern dish and are brightened up with lemon juice and an optional topping of mixed herbs.
Chipotle chiles are smoked, dried jalapeño peppers, and they lend a rich flavor and some heat here. Although it's simple to make, the combination of spicy, sweet and acidic flavors results in a satisfying bowl. Warning: the crispy quinoa topping is highly addictive. You might find yourself making it for other soups, too! We love piling this soup high with toppings like avocado, green onions, radishes and a generous squeeze of lime.
A hot bowl of stracciatella is the perfect antidote to a chill in the bones. Stracciatella means “little rags” in Italian and pertains to the straggly ribbons formed when eggs are drizzled in and cooked. Often, pastina is used in this soup, but beans are a heartier and less processed substitute. Parmesan rind adds an amazing savory quality, but freshly grated cheese will also do the trick.