Spring is here! And April is the perfect month for asparagus. One of the most nutritionally-rich vegetables available, asparagus is rich in potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, C, thiamine and fiber. It also contains a rich supply of rutin, which strengthen capillary walls, and glutathione, which is both an antioxidant and an anti-carcinogen.
Delicious lightly steamed with just a drizzle of butter or olive oil, asparagus is also tasty stir-fried, roasted or grilled. However, for today I thought I’d make a nice, light soup. It’s perfect for this time of year – for company or your family – for that special dinner or a light lunch.
And as with my Healthy Broccoli Cream Soup, I’ve chosen to use canned coconut milk (making this a good vegan choice) instead of a heavy cream, but of course, you may use that, half and half or even whole milk, if you prefer. I will say I’ve also made this without any cream at all and it was delicious.
- Asparagus - 2 lbs.
- butter or non-dairy butter - 1/4 cup
- GF flour mix - 1/4 cup
- leeks or onion - 1 1/2 cups (chopped)
- garlic - 1 teaspoon powder or 1 Tablespoon minced
- vegetable broth or chicken broth - 6 cups
- canned coconut milk, cream, half and half, or whole milk - 1/2 cup
- sea salt - 1/2 - 1 teaspoon (to taste)
- white pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
Wash and cut the woody ends off the asparagus and set aside. Cut the remaining stems into 1" pieces. I like to separate out the tops to serve as a garnish. But don't feel it's a necessity if you choose not to do so. Simply add them to the rest of the chopped stems.
If, however, you would like to use them for a little extra texture - here is how I do it:
In a soup pot, bring the vegetable (or chicken) broth to a boil and toss the asparagus tops in there for 1, but no more than 2 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them immediately into a bowl with ice water (to stop them from cooking further and to retain the pretty color). Scoop them out and set them aside on a paper towel to use later.
Then drop the woody asparagus ends into the broth and allow to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes - to enhance the flavor of the soup.
Meanwhile, in a skillet saute the chopped leeks or onion, garlic, white pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the butter. Allow to cook together for 3 or 4 minutes, until tender. Add the gluten free flour mix and stir through, continuing to saute for an additional minute or two.
Important: Remove the woody asparagus ends from the broth and toss them out. Please do not leave them in the broth or you will wind up with stringy bits that won't blend well.
Scrape the gluten free roux into the pot of vegetable broth along with the remaining chopped asparagus stems, stirring occasionally. Simmer together for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.
Remove from the heat and (carefully, as it will be hot) use an immersion blender or food processor until the soup is creamy and smooth. At this point you may go ahead and serve it, or add the coconut milk/cream and asparagus tips (you blanched earlier) and warm thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top (if you like), and garnish.
Serve and enjoy! :)
Note: I added some peppery Nasturtium from my garden because I thought they were pretty and added an additional spring touch. They're also good in salads! If you're going to do something like that, make sure they're not sprayed with insecticides, and that you've washed them first. :)