Mill City Cooks

Spring Greens Soup with Caramelized Ramps

by Chef Jenny Breen

Serves 6 to 8

In the Midwest, if you blink in early spring, ramp season has passed. When you come upon them at your farmers market or coop, bring them home and herald in spring with this soup. Other tender early spring greens are brought together here and used in the creamy base to support the sweet and tangy caramelized ramps.

The Family Kitchen: Ramps are only here for a fleeting moment. This is a great opportunity to help kids understand seasonality as this specific soup can only be prepared for a short time. Ramps are an interesting looking vegetable, save a few to compare to other kinds of onions.

To caramelize ramps:

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups ramps, cleaned and chopped roughly


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the ramps and turn down to simmer. Add the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and allow to simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes until thick and caramel like. Remove from heat when all liquid is absorbed and ramps are creamy and tender.

For soup:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches ramps, chopped to yield 2 cups
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 bunches greens, with stems removed and chopped in salad-sized pieces—kale, collards, chard, spinach will work
4 cups stock or water
6 cups milk or rice milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper


Heat olive oil and sauté ramps and garlic. After 3 minutes, add maple syrup and greens, and sauté quickly, then add soup stock or water. When greens are very soft, add milk, salt and pepper. If using an immersion blender, place into soup pot and puree until very creamy and green. Otherwise, remove from heat and puree in small batches in food processor. Be sure to use both greens and liquid in each batch so it does not spill out the bottom. Return to pot and heat through. Garnish with generous helping of caramelized ramps.