Red mountain spinach (orache) soup (vegan, GF)

Before becoming a vegetarian I wouldn’t even consider touching any soup that did not have tons of meat in it. In fact, it wouldn’t be understated to say that I wasn’t even an omnivore, but a full-fledged carnivore. That didn’t take me to any happy place, so at some point in the distant past I switched sides. I remember the first time I had a taste of a green soup made by my mother, about three years after going veg: I couldn’t even believe that the divine dish that I was having was the same with the one so deeply scarred in my memories and daily nightmares. They could not be the same, as the one I was tasting was so rich in flavours, so satisfying, so giving to my palate! I became quite convinced that one of the perks of giving up meat was a richer taste, a newly found world of aromas and flavours that had been covered up in the nonsense food I used to love until that point.

DSC_0264-copyDSC_0292-copy loboda2

I’m not sure if you are familiar with red mountain spinach (orach or orache), the less known cousin of good old fashioned green spinach. Let me tell you, this plant is amazing: not only is it 1000 times easier to clean, but it has velvety, beautiful leaves that add colour and pop to anything from salads to soups or pasta fillings. Basically, it’s an upgraded, fancy-funky spinach that will simply blow your mind and tastebuds. If you don’t have it in your garden or can’t find it at your grocer’s, no matter: buy seeds online and grow it in a pot or in your back yard as this plant is very friendly and adaptable.


Traditional Romanian plant soups, although generally vegan, lack no taste or flavours. I believe that the magic ingredient in all of this is the fermented wheat bran (also called borscht, but, mind you, it is not a soup in the sense that Russians are used to), a pale yellowish, almost transparent drink, with a very specific, addictive sour taste. Being a fermented drink, this borscht has incredible healing properties: it is very tonic in cases of anaemia, it’s a powerful diuretic (helps in diets) and, most importantly, is packed with B vitamins, which is essential for vegetarians. Not to mention that it does wonders in case of a hangover :)


Red mountain spinach (orache) soup (vegan, GF)


  • 2 liters plain water
  • 1 yellow onion, grated
  • 1 medium sized carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3-4 handfuls red mountain spinach leaves
  • 1 cup passata
  • 2 tbs vinegar OR 1 cup fermented wheat bran (if available)
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • salt, to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep pot; gently braise the carrot and onion until just tender. Add the water and rice, cover with a lid and let simmer until the rice is cooked through (15-20 minutes).
  2. Chop the red mountain spinach and add it to the soup together with the passata, simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  3. Heat the fermented wheat bran in a small saucepan, then add it to the soup together with the parsley. Remove from stovetop. If using white wine vinegar, simply add it to the soup and then set aside.

The colours of this soup are not tampered with, it simply has the most incredible pink tones imaginable!

DSC_0248-copy ciorba de loboda

Love and red mountain spinach!

One thought on “Red mountain spinach (orache) soup (vegan, GF)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *