Creamy asparagus soup
This recipe is inspired by a recipe I once saw on a train. Yes, that’s right. There was an ad for a local vegetarian group, and their website featured a recipe courtesy of a well-known vegetarian chef. When writing this post, I found that the original site is no longer in operation. If you recognize this recipe, let me know, as I’d love to give credit for the inspiration.
1 large bunch asparagus
½ a leek
6 cups broth/stock of choice
¾ cup cashews
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups baby spinach, packed
- Make the cashew cream. You have two options:
- Soak the cashews overnight, covered, with enough water to cover by 2-3 inches.
- Or, bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Once to temperature, pour over the cashews. Set aside.
- Clean and roughly chop the asparagus. Tip: I was extra lazy when I made this and used a bag of frozen asparagus from Trader Joe’s! Worked perfectly.
- Roughly chop the onion, leek and garlic.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek and garlic and sauté until the onions start to take on a bit of color.
- Add the asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes more.
- Add the stock to the pan.
I’m going to share with you a cooking secret I have kept closely guarded (until now, of course).
Someone recommended this seasoning to me a few years ago for soups. I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I put it in everything: rice, soup, sautés, risotto (shhhhhh, don’t tell my family). It’s salty, so take care to taste as you add. If you have an Asian grocer nearby, I strongly encourage you to grab some.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Check to make sure your asparagus is done. If not, continue to cook in five minute intervals. Turn off when vegetables are done.
- While the soup is cooking, make the cashew cream. Drain the water from the cashews. Add to a blender. If you have a high-speed blender, you probably don’t need water. If you don’t (like moi), add around ¼ cup of water. Blend until very smooth.
- Add the spinach and cashew cream to the soup. Stir until the spinach is wilted.
- Puree the soup using an immersion blender, or blend the soup in a stand blender in batches.
Make it your own:
- Instead of using cashew cream, you can also use heavy cream or coconut milk. Just add at the very end, after you have pureed the soup.
- Add some protein: add some beans at the end. You can also add cooked shrimp or cooked cubed chicken.
- Add some grain: add cooked quinoa or rice. Or, cook pasta directly in the soup (one of my favorites). When making the soup, puree without adding the cashew cream. Once pureed, bring the soup back to a boil. Add the pasta and lower the heat to medium/low. Follow the pasta’s cooking time. You can skip the cream all together, and finish with Parmesan cheese.
- Mix up your veggies: use carrots or broccoli, instead. Use just spinach. Use roasted squash. Use whatever vegetables are hiding in your vegetable drawer!