Mexican Lime Soup (Sopa de Lima)

So the plan today was to wake up early and head down to Union Square to see what's available at the green market. Things didn't quite work out the way they were supposed to though, and the day slipped by rather suddenly. I soon found myself sitting in a darkened living room as the sun slowly disappeared, a low growl in my stomach serving as a reminder that I hadn't eaten all day.

I wandered into the kitchen to make something, but opening the fridge proved disheartening; it's been a while since I've done any proper shopping. An odd mishmash of condiments, a few limes, a head of garlic, and one pack of spinach was about all I had inside. I toyed with the idea of ordering something in, but then I took another look. Though it didn't seem like much, I realized that I had more than enough for a delicious and filling soup.

What I made is a quick variation of the Yucatan soup known as Sopa de Lima, traditionally made with chicken parts and served with tortillas. I started with a wonderfully flavored chicken stock that I had frozen in cubes in the freezer, however in a pinch some canned stock or bouillon will also work. If I'd had fresh cilantro, I would have added that too, but I found that the dried coriander worked just as well, lending the soup another layer of citrusy aroma. The brightness of the limes pairs unexpectedly well with the earthy bitterness of the spinach. A few dried chilis, plus a drop of chili oil, added just enough heat, and some smoky cumin rounded out the flavors.

Ladeled into my favorite (and slightly chipped) terracotta bowl, it was a perfect light supper. The only thing missing was some fresh avocado and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. Next time, definitely!
Here's the recipe, just in time for Cinco de Mayo!

Mexican Lime Soup (with Spinach)

6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon of olive oil
12 oz spinach (preferably fresh, but frozen will do!)
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 dried chilis
A dash of chili oil (optional)

1.) Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the dried chilis, cumin, and coriander, and let cook in the oil for a minute to release the aromas of the spices.

2.) Pour in the 6 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil.

3.) Add the spinach and cook for about two minutes.

4.) Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and chili oil (if desired). Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Serve with additional lime slices or fresh cotija cheese and cilantro, if desired.


  1. Oh this sounds so zingy(is that a word>) , healthy,and nice. And how appropiate for the time .

  2. I'll have to try this with vegetable stock...

  3. This sounds delicious! Very much so...

  4. Oh wow this looks fantastic! Is it hard to find fresh cotija cheese? I've only ever had it in restaurants. And does the soup reheat well?

  5. That looks so healthy! Perfect for spring and summer!

  6. That looks soo good! You should submit it to our spinach contest! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  7. Thanks everyone! It was really delicous. I definitely recommend trying it out and doctoring up however you'd like!

    LJ: Cotija isn't that hard to find. Whole Foods should have it or any specialty latin grocer (you can find a lot uptown or on the LES).

  8. Tastespotting! Hooray.

    The soup sounds delicious.

    Try to eat more during the day. We don't need you turning into Tracey Gold.

  9. That sounds so refreshing and zingy. Perfect for a hot day.

    I can't get Cotija here, what do you suggest I use instead?

  10. Sometimes those moments where you just go with what's in your fridge and have fun with it are the most fun. This looks delicious!

  11. Nice variation on one of my very favorite soups!

  12. What a fascinating combination; never heard of lime soup before and it sounds like a tasty way to get some spinach into the diet. Thanks!

  13. Hey, I recognize that bowl! XOXOXOX

  14. Mexican Lime Soup with Spinach sounds pretty interesting. Too bad that you didn't have any cilantro, that would have put it over the top.



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