Layers of Soup with Spinach (Katman Katman Ispanak Corbasi)

One thing I have learned about Turks is their ability to make something out of nothing. Especially when it comes to food. And to make this ‘something’ go a long way.

Yesterday I was at our local pazar (market) and enquired on the price of some deliciously green looking spinach, to be told that it was 3TL per kilo. 3TL?! So, of course, I bought a kilo! (3TL is around AUD$1.50)

After coming home I had to figure out what I was going to do with 1kg of spinach. So I consulted my favorite new cookbook by Turkish chef Refika Birgul. And what jumped out at me – spinach soup!

This soup is surprisingly tasty, much more so that I even thought it would be, given the simple ingredients. It’s very soupy, not at all thick (which I usually prefer, but not this time) so adjust the water amounts as you see fit. And the chickpeas and halloumi cheese give it a great added textural dimension.

All up this huge pot of soup cost me about 15TL to make and I will be enjoying it for dayssss! So, happy cooking and afiyet olsun!

[By the way, even though this recipe is from Refika’s book Cooking New Istanbul Style, it is also on her website (free) and you can see the link by clicking here]


  • ½ kilo of spinach
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock (Refika recommends a bouillon cube or chicken stock, I used chicken but would have preferred vegetable)
  • 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt (to season)
  • 1 can of chickpeas (400g)
  • Halloumi cheese (to serve)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Add olive oil to a very large pot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté a little until they start to change color.
  2. Add the washed spinach leaves to the pot and continue to sauté. (roughly break them into 2-3 pieces using your hands)
  3. As the spinach leaves start to change color, add 5 cups of boiling water and 1 cup of chicken stock. Boil for 10 minutes.
  4. While the spinach is boiling, add the butter and flour to a small pan. Slightly burn the flour, and then pour the flour mixture into the pot. Stir through and let the mixture boil for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Using a hand blender, mix the soup until it is smooth.
  6. Add the chickpeas to the soup and stir through (you can reheat slightly if you like). Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  7. When ready to serve, heat a little butter in a pan and grill cubes of halloumi. Add it to the top of the soup bowls and serve.