Asparagus is my spring obsession. Long considered a gourmet delight, I can't get enough of those beautiful green spears. If you are an asparagus lover like me, try this vibrant green cream of asparagus soup for a spring or Easter dinner. It’s easy to make, creamy and rich, plus you can make it ahead to save time.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Since most of us don't grow our own food these days, we may never understand how labor intensive many foods are to grow. To harvest asparagus, workers often start before dawn, sometimes in the moonlight, bending low and hand-cutting the slender green spears before they are bundled and delivered to market.
A member of the lily family, asparagus spears turn green when the stalks burst through the dirt and reach for the sun. The sun-struck spears produce chlorophyll and turn green. If you dig under the dirt, the spears are white.
Big Time Health Benefits
Loaded with nutrients like vitamins C, E and K, folate and minerals like zinc, manganese, and selenium, asparagus is also anti-imflammatory. These lovely green spears may also provide a good amount of glutathione, the master antioxidant.
Eating asparagus also gives you something called inulin, a fiber that acts as a prebiotic, providing a feast for the good bacteria in our gut that help with digestion. All of that aside, I love the taste, so I am glad it's good for us.
How to Buy and Store Asparagus
Choose fresh looking green spears (not yellowing) with tight tips or heads. As a kid, I called them the braids. Markets should have the bundles sitting in a shallow pan of water to keep them from drying out.
When you get asparagus home, trim a little off the bottom and stand the bundles in a tall container with an inch of water in the bottom to keep the ends moist. Treat them like flowers. Cover loosely with plastic wrap until you are ready to use.
Alternatively, wet a paper towel with water and wrap the ends, then place in a plastic bag. It will last a couple of days stored this way, but the sooner you use it the better.
How to Make Cream of Asparagus Soup
First, chop the asparagus and drop into boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Remove asparagus from the pan immediately and drop into a bowl of ice water (called shocking). This stops the cooking process and keeps the asparagus bright green. Drain.
Next sauté a little onion and garlic in olive oil, add asparagus, broth, and canned coconut milk. I use either Native Forest or Natural Value, both organic and in BPA-free cans. After pureeing, finish the soup with lemon juice, salt and pepper. That’s it.
Coconut Milk and Broth
Coconut milk replaces dairy milk and adds satisfying, creamy richness, and you won't taste any coconut. Really! For broth, use either low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth for asparagus soup vegan. If you make it with vegetable broth, make homemade. The boxed and canned ones don't taste very good. Here is an easy recipe.
NOTE - If you are allergic to coconut and do enjoy dairy, use half and half or heavy cream.
Other Ways to Enjoy Asparagus
There are many ways to enjoy asparagus: roasted, chopped and combined with zucchini for a quick vegetable stir fry, folded into an omelet, or wrapped with Prosciutto baked for a fantastic appetizer. Asparagus soup can be served either warm on a cool day or chilled on a hot one and makes a lovely seasonal addition to a spring brunch or dinner.
For Histamine Intolerance
If coconut milk does not work for you and you are also dairy-intolerant, this soup unfortunately might not be a good option.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
- Large pot or Dutch Oven
- 2 bundles fresh asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion ½ cup, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 ⅓ cups broth vegetable or chicken, low sodium
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper I use white pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Fill a 4-5 quart pot three-quarters full with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Fill a medium bowl half full of ice, then fill with cold water. This creates an ice bath. While water is coming to a boil, prep the asparagus.
- Snap the tough ends off of the bottom of the asparagus spears. Trim off the tips, then chop the rest of the spears into 1" pieces. Drop all of the asparagus into boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. Strain asparagus through a sieve into the sink and add the asparagus immediately to the ice batch to stop the cooking process. Chill until cold then drain again.
- In the same pan, cook onion in olive oil over medium low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook 1 minute. Add asparagus, broth and coconut milk. Simmer for a few minutes for flavors to blend. Puree in a blender until smooth. Add lemon juice salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve hot or chilled.