I shamefully admit to not eating enough asparagus as I should. It’s not that I don’t like this vegetable; it happens to be one of the most expensive vegetables in the market. Since they are at their peek this short lived season, I bought them in a cluster as a treat. This will be my first but not last recipe I will be sharing with you on asparagus. I made this cream of asparagus soup for dinner last night and it was met by a lot of lip smacking compliments. Who would have thought that asparagus would be in the lime light for the day? Here is the kicker; this creamy soup has no cream or milk of any kind primarily because it doesn’t need any. The potato and celery root employed it’s creamy and silky texture. The asparagus gave this soup a wonderful flavor and that spectacular olive green hue. Elegance does not require a lot of calories and fat. Something gourmet as this healthful version of cream of asparagus soup can be nutritional as well. If you normally add cream to your vegetable soups, I suggest you forgo this method just this once. Looking back, I can’t recall when I last added cream or milk to any of my vegetable soups.
Since ancient times, asparagus was considered to be a delicacy. As one of the oldest recorded vegetables in history, asparagus is thought to have originated along the coastal regions of eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor areas. This herbaceous perennial plant is botanically classified with the Asparagaceae family. Succulent and tender, this prized vegetable arrives in the beginning of spring when its shoots break through the soil and reach their 6-8 inch harvest length. Just as a spear is used as a weapon, asparagus’s javelin-shaped form could be viewed by some as symbolic for its age- and disease-fighting abilities. Asparagus is packed with health benefits that I have been sadly depriving myself of. Loaded with nutrients, asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
Along with avocado, kale, and Brussel sprouts, this herbaceous plant contains a large amount of of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is one of the reasons why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers. Packed with antioxidants, asparagus is ranked among the top fruit and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. According to preliminary research, this may help delay the aging process. Asparagus contains another anti-aging property which may help our brains fight cognitive declination.
Akin to leafy green vegetables, this vegetable delivers folate, which works together with vitamin B12 to help prevent cognitive impairment. Another health benefit of asparagus is that it contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine , a natural diuretic increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts.
This incredibly simple cream of asparagus, pureed till smooth, has rightfully earned it’s place on my menu. It is delicious eaten hot or cold. For brutal hot summer days, a bit of lemon juice in this soup can be very refreshing to the palate. A piece of toasted bread completes this soup for me. I may use leftovers to make an asparagus Alfredo sauce.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 lbs of asparagus chopped and stems removed (reserve one cup of cooked asparagus spears for garnish if you like)
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 medium-small potato peeled and chopped
- 1 celery root peeled and chopped
- 4 cups of water or vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper for taste
- Olive oil (optional)
Place vegetables in a stock pot over medium high heat. Saute for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to sweat. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender. Puree with a hand blender or in batches with a standing blender till smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with asparagus spears when serving.
Yields 4 servings