My Favorite Asparagus Soup

creamy asparagus soup

When spring inches its way forward, there is one recipe that I invariably prepare: asparagus soup.  It’s creamy, but light, and rich with the grassy green herbaceous flavor of asparagus and leeks.

Spring comes earlier to the region around us than it comes to the mountain itself.  After a long and grey-white winter, when March arrives, we long for a little warmth and usually find ourselves on the road for a day visit to the hot springs.  If there’s been a good start to spring, we’ll see a woman pulled over along the high, the tailgate of her rusted blue truck open, selling freshly picked asparagus out of an icy cooler.  Sometimes, if you’re lucky, she’ll sell you honey too.

We pull over and I’ll buy far more than my family of three could possibly eat (it’s only $1 / pound!).   We eat it raw by the handful for freshly picked asparagus lacks the astringent quality of its long-traveled, store-bought cousin.  I roast it, and I make this asparagus soup – my favorite – three or four times.  We’ll have our fill, until next spring.

local asparagus in spring

How and Why Asparagus Soup Nourishes

asparagus

Asparagus is highly anti-inflammatory and rich in several antioxidants including beta carotene, glutathione, quercetin and rutin.  Further, asparagus is also rich in the vitamins K1 and folate as well as the minerals selenium and manganese.

Asparagus is also rich in the prebiotic inulin which is also found in Jerusalem artichokes and chicory root.  Inulin, like other prebiotics, provides food for beneficial bacteria – thus nourishing the bacteria in your intestinal tract.  If your intestinal tract is healthy and teeming with beneficial bacteria, this is good; however, if your intestinal tract is compromised by potentially opportunistic bacteria or you suffer from gut dysbiosis, inulin may exacerbate the issue which is why GAPS patients are typically told to avoid inulin-rich foods.  You can learn more about prebiotics and probiotics here.

bone broth

Broth made from bones, in this case chicken bone broth, is potently rich in easy-to-assimiliate minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.  It is also rich in amino acids, particularly proline which promotes skin and heart health as well as glycine which promotes good digestion, skin health and improved wound healing.

Bone broths are also rich in naturally occurring gelatin which promotes digestive health as well as good skin.  I typically keep a slowcooker full of broth simmering continuously on my kitchen counter – find out more about my method for perpetual soup here.

cream and butter

My favorite asparagus soup, like many of my favorite foods, uses cream and butter with abandon.  These foods, like asparagus, are at their best in the spring when cows can graze on the fast-growing and lush grasses of spring.  Springtime butter and cream from grass-fed cows are extraordinarily rich in nourishing fats: conjugated linoleic acid which shows promise in reducing the risk of cancers and metabolic syndrome, as well as trans-palmitoleic acid which shows promise in mitigating the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Butter and cream from grass-fed cows are also rich sources of fat-soluble vitamins particularly vitamins A, E and K2.  These fat-soluble vitamins support cognitive function, heart health, bone health, immunity and the reproductive system.  Further,  healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins help you to better absorb the antioxidants found  in fruits and vegetables (which is another reason to butter you vegetables).

asparagus soup

 

My Favorite Asparagus Soup

creamy asparagus soup

By Jenny Published: June 10, 2012

  • Yield: 1 1/2 quarts (4 to 6 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Ready In: 60 mins

Creamy, light and simultaneously rich, this soup features a triple dose of one of spring's best ingredients: asparagus. The woody base of each asparagus stem infuses the stock with its herbaceous and grassy flavor, the middles add bulk to the soup while I add the tender tops, briefly blanched, as garnish to the soup. To prepare this soup properly, you'll need an immersion blender which is essential for many soup recipes on Nourished Kitchen. I use this immersion blender.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds asparagus
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream (preferably raw)

Instructions

  1. Chop off the woody ends of the asparagus and reserve. Chop about 1/2-inch of the tender asparagus tips and reserve in a separate bowl. Chop the middle third of the asparagus at 1/2-inch intervals and set aside in a third bowl.
  2. Slice the white and light green part of the leek thinly, reserving the dark green leaves and the root tip.
  3. Pour stock into a large stock pot and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Toss in the woody asparagus ends, leek trimmings and bay leaves. Simmer, covered, for twenty minutes.
  4. While the stock simmers, melt butter in a cast iron skillet. When it froths, stir in thinly sliced leeks. Fry in butter for about one minute, or until fragrant. Stir in the chopped asparagus middles and continue to fry, stirring periodically, for about five minutes.
  5. Strain the stock and return it to the stock pot. Stir in the sauteed leek and asparagus. Simmer over medium heat for twenty minutes or until the asparagus is tender. Turn off the heat, stir in heavy cream and puree the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth.
  6. In a separate pot, bring about 1 pint of water to a boil. Toss in asparagus tips and boil for two to three minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and plunge them into ice water to reserve their color. Drain and stir into the soup. Serve immediately

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What people are saying

  1. says

    Asparagus is the best vegetable. I’ve been trying asparagus soups for years trying to find the right one, but haven’t yet. this is going on my to-try list, though with vegetable broth, not chicken :)

  2. jami says

    I love asparagus! And soup! This looks really similar to a soup I like to make. I have tons of lemon balm growing around my house, and its so good and fresh in the spring, last year I tried adding that to asparagus soup and boy was it yummy. I just threw in a maybe a quarter of a cup of leaves while the soup was hot, right before the puree step and added a few small laeves for garnish.

  3. Melissa says

    I typically put all of my (raw) soup ingredients in my Vitamix and let it blend it into silk lol It’s steaming hot at that point, but I am also going to try this recipe because it looks delicious!

    • KeeNan says

      This brings up a question I’ve had as I transition to traditional foods. Does a VitaMix destroy nutrients? Is it a good kitchen tool for traditional diets? I guess this would be a question for Jenny…

  4. Cam says

    I think you might want to mention to remove the bay leaf before blending it. Bay leaves aren’t usually eaten, as they have a strong flavour and are harsh to digest. At least, that’s what I’ve read.

  5. Soccy says

    Thanks for the recipe. I have everything on hand except for the leeks. Is there anythingbi can sub for the leeks? Onions?

  6. Kelly says

    I read the bit about insulin and asparagus and am curious as to why Asparagus is GAPS legal? Would lovevthis recipe but can’t do the cream or butter (yet).

    • Jenny says

      I am also curious about why it’s GAPS legal given that other inulin-rich foods are not. I guess it’s a question for NCM.

  7. Marilyn says

    I read this recipe and thought, “Heavens! What will my Pair O’Dachs do for asparagus in their spring veggie mix, since every time WE have asparagus, the woody ends get ground, then pureed, and go into their morning veggies.
    My understanding — keeping mind that I do not do GAPs, I do SCD, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet — is that although asparagus is rich in inulin, there is significantly less of it in the tender tips, and that therefore it may be acceptable to SCDers. Still, keep in mind that leeks, onions, and garlic are also high in inulin, and that some people can tolerate them, and some may not. I personally, have noted that if I take fresh-from-the-garden onions and garlic, slice thinly, dehydrate, and then powder, they are less likely to cause an issue. (I often do onions, garlic, tomatoes, green peppers and mushrooms at the same time, and then the house smells like pizza instead of just onion and garlic!) Another advantage to making your own onion and garlic powders is that you have your own fresh stuff longer, AND you can have some variation — commercial onion powders are always white onions, or toasted white onions. By making my own, I can have white, yellow, red, green, Vidalia, etc. etc. etc. I’ve considered trying to dry asparagus, but somehow, well, it’s fresh. It’s asparagus. It’s… eaten.

    • says

      Hi Marilyn,
      I’m curious about learning more about the SCD diet. I’ve been educated about the GAPS diet, but not SCD. I checked out a website explaining aspects of the protocol, but I’m curious why aspartame and canola oil are ‘allowed’ on this diet. Have you had success?

      • Marilyn says

        Considering that I’m in my 11th year on SCD, yes, I’d say I have had success. I was sick for 25 years before going to SCD, and you couldn’t pay me to go back to the SAD. Note: I have read NCM’s book on GUT & PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME. No offense, but SCD works best for me. Aspartame is permitted in a diet soda once a week on SCD, but since I never had any use for diet soda, and aspartame made me vilely ill prior to SCD, I saw no reason to bother — I’d rather do real honey, or use dates for sweetening, or do without the sweets. In any case, I no longer crave sweet stuff the way I did pre-SCD. Canola oil is permitted, but Elaine Gottschall did not like it. I use coconut oil for frying, and various mild oils, including flax, grapeseed, or macadamia nut oil for making mayonnaise or mayonnaise-type dressings. I always add a spoonful of whey from my 24 hour yogurt to my mayo and let it ferment for a couple of hours. I think I’d rather tinker with water kefir if I want a fizzy drink.

  8. says

    This site is WONDERFUL. I’m definitely going to recommend it to clients. Thanks for posting great recipes with nutrient dense ingredients. (And with such beautiful photos.)
    Victoria LaFont, NTP

  9. says

    YUM! This is very similar to my favorite asparagus soup recipe. Our first farmer’s mkt finally starts this Tuesday. I can’t wait to pick up some asparagus! It’s one of my top favorite veggies! I’ll be giving this recipe a shop to see how it compares to my regular standby.

  10. HA says

    This recipe is a very good basic one to use in almost any veggie soup…….Though the cream is a good addition.
    i will further submit the idea of using spelt flour (or whatever) for a bit more body. I toast the flour lightly,
    then add it slowly to the butter and or EVOO for a roux. Using this as a base in all of my cream soups. We love the EVOO in place of butter, so much healthier…..Try it when baking scones, biscuits. Makes for a flakier product.

  11. Ashley says

    I am a fan if this soup. When I first heard it, I was a bit skeptical. But i have an adventurous palate, so I thought I would give it a try. Plus, I needed lunch for the week and I didn’t have much $$. Cheap and Easy! :)

    It is SO good!! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am curious how it would taste with beef stock. I have some soup bones I need to make stock with…

  12. says

    Yum! Made this tonight with a fifth of the asparagus my friend brought me! It’s delish. Great idea to milk the woody asparagus stems and leek castings for their flavor before tossing them!

    I notice the recipe doesn’t say when to add the salt and white pepper; I stirred it in at step 5 with the sauteed leeks and asparagus. Also, I was trolling other cream of asparagus recipes for ideas, and one includes a bit of fresh nutmeg at the end. I tried that in a bit of the soup and it was delicious as well. If you like nutmeg, add a bit! :)

  13. Holly says

    To be clear, I should have confirmed that I’m just an avid reader of the Recipe Round Ups, and have no interest in/authority to represent the hosting blog. Hope I didn’t offend your policy by calling the Round Up to your attention.

  14. Deanna says

    I would really love to try this recipe.. I do not own an immersion blender but have a new Vitamix. Is there a reason why you recommend an immersion bender for proper preparation? Thanks you –

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