Spring produce stars in vegan asparagus soup (Recipe of the Month)
This past weekend, I was at the farmers market and picked up some asparagus and watercress. I love making the best of what comes in fresh each week.
Truth be told, I originally had other plans for both of these ingredients, and then the week got away from me, as it does for so many of us.
I was able to put this soup together in 30 minutes, start to finish. It is a spring/summer soup that is fantastic served hot or cold. I suggest making it for dinner and then putting the leftovers into the freezer to have the next day.
For the warm preparation, I garnished it with olive oil and a crispy slice of toasted bread. If you were preparing it cold, I would suggest a spoonful of shrimp or crab salad (the recipe would no longer be vegan but it certainly still would be delicious).
I use oat milk to add a creamy element without having to use heavy cream, and it has a delicious flavor to it as well.
The last thing we do is add some bread to the soup before blending to thicken it. I hope you try this one at home soon!
- 1 baguette, approximately 5 inches of it cut into 5 equal pieces, the rest of it sliced thinly and set aside
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 bunches (if the bunch is very large, one will suffice) asparagus, with the bottom ends removed, sliced into roughly 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch watercress, washed (you can substitute arugula or spinach for watercress)
- ½ bunch chives, chopped
- A sprinkle of chili flakes (optional, but I like the little bit of warmth it adds)
- 1 tablespoon gin (optional, but I like the aromatic quality it adds)
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 2 cups unsweetened oat milk
- Extra-virgin olive oil for garnishing
- Toast the ‘set aside’ thin slices of baguette in batches in your toaster oven. You can also do this all at once on a baking sheet in the oven set to 350.
- Heat the tablespoon of canola oil on medium heat in a large pot. Add the yellow onions and season with salt and pepper. Let them sweat for a few minutes, being careful to make sure they don’t brown.
- Add the chopped asparagus and stir to get it integrated. Add more salt and pepper. Cook the asparagus for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add the watercress, or whatever green you are substituting, as well as the chives. Stir. Let the mixture cook for another minute. Add the chili flakes if you are using them.
- Add the tablespoon of gin; 30 or so seconds later, add the vegetable stock and the oat milk.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes of cooking check the asparagus to make sure it is tender. If it is, turn off the heat and add the 5 slices of bread to the pot. Stir them into the mixture.
- Blend the soup in batches, pouring the blended batches into a large, heat-proof bowl.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt at this stage (I don’t like to grind pepper or add chili flakes into the soup after blending because they aren’t blended in; it is purely an aesthetic thing, so if you don’t care, I don’t care). I found that I used about 1½ tablespoons of salt for the whole thing, but everyone’s salt preferences are theirs and theirs alone.
Makes just over 2 quarts, so there’s plenty for a few meals.
In Recipe of the Month food writer Steven DeSalvo shares a recipe Montclairians might enjoy making. DeSalvo has a degree in hospitality business management from the University of Delaware and has worked extensively in restaurants and hotels. If there is something you want to know how to make, or if you’ve eaten a dish at a local restaurant that you are dying to make at home, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.