Spring Soups with Asparagus: Recipe #1

Since this recipe is low on the food chain and made with organic ingredients, I am calling Earth Day, Every Day #5.

According to Lisa Mosing, MS, RD, FADA, “Asparagus spears and the Spring season reach their peak at about the same time.” Mosing also notes that “asparagus is easy to prepare, healthy and delicious to eat” with “spears high in vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin and folate, high in fiber and a good source of iron and potassium” and…. “is a nutritious and versatile vegetable that can be easily served as an appetizer, a soup, a salad, a side dish, or with pasta.” Finally, even though asparagus is available all year round, “the best time to buy for freshness is in spring.”

To read more go to:
http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/smoking_
cessation/alternative_treatments/folate_articles/nutritional_
sign_of_spring_asparagus.aspx#sthash.NoL8MBRl.dpuf

I have chosen two soup recipes that incorporate asparagus, one today and the other in my next Kitchen Nutrition posting. The first is a combination of recipes I saw in two magazines, using cauliflower to make it “creamy.” The second one uses pureed mushrooms to thicken the soup and is my own idea. The shades of green will be different because of the additional dark greens used in the first and the brown mushrooms in the second.

Spring Soup #1 with Roasted Asparagus, Cauliflower & Leafy Greens

Utensils: Soup pot, cutting board & knife,  large bowl or large measuring cup with lip, cookie sheet, blender or food processor (Steamer basket and pot if you choose to steam the greens.)
Prep. Time & Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes
(You will be prepping and cooking somewhat simultaneously)
Categories: Vegan (V), Gluten Free (GF), No Added Sugar (NAS)

Ingredients (Feel free to use more or less of each veggie, depending on your preferences for each vegetable.)

6-8 (organic) asparagus spears
6 oz. of riced cauliflower* (1/2 pkg.)
one cup baby kale (less bitter) or spinach or chard
coconut oil (or butter or ghee if not vegan)
2 cups soup stock (approximately)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees F.
  2. Wash and snap off woody ends of the asparagus, cut into thirds, toss with one or two Tbl. oil and bake on an oiled cookie sheet (another Tbl.) until slightly crisp. This may take as little as 5 minutes and as much as 10 minutes, depending on thickness of spears. You can also put asparagus on grill mode for a couple of minutes, turning once but not burning the asparagus. Remove and cool.
  3. (You can do this step before the asparagus is in the oven or after, since the two veggies cook in about the same time.) Place your greens in a pot of pure water to cover the greens or in a steamer and simmer (in pot) or steam (in steamer) for about 5-7 minutes. Drain. (I use the green cooking water for plants when the water cools, because kale imparts a somewhat bitter taste to the water, so I don’t use it for the soup.)
  4. Also, while the asparagus is roasting, measure 6 oz. of riced cauliflower.*  Set aside. (If not using riced cauliflower, cook slices of fresh cauliflower, about 3 or 4 cauliflowerettes, in water or stock for about 5 minutes. See notes below.)
  5. Mix all three veggies together in a large bowl or large measuring cup and using a blender or food processor, blend the mixture in 2 or 3 batches with soup stock, starting with one cup of stock. If soup is too thick, add more stock. Pour into soup pot, heat, adding salt and pepper to taste or other herbs of your choice. (Puree to the smoothness you like. I like it a little chunky.)Yield: Approximately 2 to 2 1/2 cups. (Can also be served cold.)

    *Riced cauliflower is merely whole cauliflower ground up into small pieces and found frozen or perhaps in packages in the refrigerated section of the market. You can make your own by placing wholepieces in a blender or food processor. Since the soup is pureed, you can skip riced version and just slice cauliflower pieces thinly enough to cook quickly and be small enough to blend with the other ingredients. The water from cooking this cauliflower can also be used instead of or as part of the soup stock.

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