A simple vegan cream of asparagus soup is enhanced with the addition of peas and leafy greens. If ever there was a soup that celebrates spring, it would be this one.
Now that asparagus is sold nearly year-round, it’s not as much of a “sign of spring” as it used to be, but still, I think of it as such and think it tastes best in its true season.
Though this doesn’t make a large pot full of soup, each serving has a lovely intensity. I’ve been making a version of this soup since time immemorial, or at least since the 1980s!
It’s a fairly quick-cooking soup, since you want to retain the green color and fresh flavor of the ingredients. A great first course to serve with everyday or special occasion springtime meals, this soup goes well with just about any kind of fare.
SOME ASPARAGUS TIPS (Excuse the pun)
- Slender asparagus is often seen in spring, but too slender isn’t a good thing. You want stalks that are succulent, or you’ll just be getting lots of skin and little flavor.
- Choose bundles of asparagus with firm spears; the tips should be closed, plump and green.
- Avoid asparagus with withered tips and/or bottoms that look very woody and pale — a sure sign that it’s past its peak.
- If you won’t be using your asparagus right away (though you should use it within a day or two of buying), wrap the ends of the stalks with a damp paper towel and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- You can also stand asparagus spears upright in a glass filled with 2 to 3 inches of cool water. That’s even better!
WHEN YOU’RE READY TO USE IT
- Wash the asparagus stalks, then cut about an inch off the stem ends.
- If the skin looks tough toward the stem end, peel about half of the stalks toward the stem end with a vegetable peeler. This isn’t a lot of fun to do, but your finished dish will be that much better for it!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, preferably medium-thick spears
- 1 large or 2 medium potatoes, finely diced
- 32-ounce carton vegetable broth or 4 cups water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
- 2 big handfuls baby spinach or other baby greens
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups plain unsweetened nondairy milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat until the onion is golden.
- Meanwhile, cut about an inch off the bottoms of the asparagus stalks and discard. Scrape off any tough skin with a vegetable peeler (though if you’ll be using a high-speed blender, no need to scrape). Cut the stalks into approximately 1-inch pieces. Set aside the tips for later use.
- Add the asparagus pieces, potato, and broth to the soup pot. Bring to a slow boil, then then cover and simmer gently until the asparagus and potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir in the peas, greens, and parsley, and cook briefly, just until the greens are wilted. Remove from the heat.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender (in batches if need be). Process until smoothly pureed, then stir back into the soup pot.
- Return to low heat. Add enough nondairy milk to give the soup a medium-thick consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Cook briefly, just until piping hot, then remove from the heat.
- Steam the reserved asparagus tips in a small skillet with a little water until just tender-crisp, then drain.
- Serve at once, or let the soup stand for an hour or so off the heat to develop even more flavor, then heat through before serving. Top each serving with a few of the steamed asparagus tips, plus any of the other garnishes you’d like to use.
If you like this creamy green soup, you might also enjoy …
See lots more easy vegan soups & stews.