Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Gourmet Garden. Thank you for supporting my partnerships with brands that I love to work with and whose products I use regularly. As always, all opinions are my own.
Spring is a miraculous season. The earth reawakens and shakes off its winter coat ready to burst with life once again. Everything seems brighter and fresher. There is the promise of warmer days ahead and the fragrance of flowers ready to erupt and spread their petals to the sky.
I love the growing excitement at farmer’s markets when spring produce starts to show up. Everyone is anxiously awaiting the arrival of tender asparagus spears, bright pink rhubarb, spring garlic, Meyer lemons, fava beans, and other tempting treasures to brighten their plates after the long winter.
Usually at this time of the year in California we are getting what is known as “pencil” asparagus, so small and tender all they need is a quick steaming before devouring. But if the only asparagus you can find is large and thick (usually a sign they can be tough and woody) you can still enjoy this soup. Use your vegetable peeler to take the tough skin off the stalks and use the tender centers to make the soup. See the Kitchen Hints below on tips for the best way to peel the stalks!
Today’s soup is a true celebration of the season. Bright, clean, and fresh. It has a surprising lusciousness from the potatoes giving you the illusion that it has cream in it but it is dairy-free as well as gluten-free! Each bite is more delicious than the last and you will swear there is cream in the soup.
The grassy notes of the lemongrass complement the asparagus while adding a citrus overtone and floral elements. It adds a delightful complexity while not overpowering the asparagus. Everyone will enjoy the beautiful flavors of asparagus and lemongrass together.
If you have worked with lemongrass before, you know what a pain it can be. The stems are impossibly tough but the flavor and aroma are addicting so we put up with it. But all that changed when Gourmet Garden created their Lemongrass Stir-In Paste – they did all the work for us! Now we get that delightful flavor and none of the hassle. Yea!
Because of the potential stringiness of asparagus, you need a powerful blender to puree this soup. A food processor doesn’t do as good a job and an immersion blender will miss pieces leaving you with a chunky soup. Just be sure not to fill the blender too full because hot liquids expand – if it doesn’t have enough room you will wind up with hot soup all over your kitchen. Yep, the voice of experience talking here.
The Artist and I really enjoyed this soup – fresh and creamy without any dairy! If you are planning a brunch, shower, girl-friend’s luncheon, or dinner party, put this soup on your menu. The bright green color is stunning on your table, the soup is bursting with flavor without being heavy, and it is about as healthy as you can get. This is vegetarian and vegan food that everyone will love!
Have a wonderful weekend!
The only ingredient where there is any chance of gluten contamination is the stock. Be sure to read the labels carefully and use a brand that guarantees their products are gluten-free. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer.
Kitchen Skill: Trimming and Peeling Asparagus
All recipes say to trim the ends off asparagus, but how do you know how far up the stem to cut? Take one of the larger stalks, and holding it at either end, bend until it snaps. Use the longer piece as a guide to cut the rest of the bunch, discarding the smaller tough ends.
If the asparagus is thick and heavy, you can peel the stalks to reveal the tender centers. The easiest way is to lay the asparagus flat on a cutting board and use a vegetable peeler. Keeping it flat on the board keeps the stalks from snapping as you work with them. You only need to peel the thickest part of the stalk – and if you are working with very delicate stalks, you won’t need to peel them at all!
- 2 lb fresh asparagus
- 2 tbsp organic olive oil
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- Ground white or black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, trimmed, peeled, and diced
- 1 medium Russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Lemongrass Stir-In Paste
- 2 tsp Gourmet Garden Garlic Stir-In Paste
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- Chopped pistachios, for garnish
- Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Chives, for garnishing
- Make sure you have pre-measured and prepped all the ingredients before you start cooking - called mise en place - so you can add ingredients easily and quickly when directed. Set a wire sieve over a very large bowl and set aside.
- Prepare the Soup: Trim off the tough ends of the asparagus stalks and discard. (See Kitchen Skill above.) If your asparagus is older or very thick, peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler. Cut off the tips and set some aside for garnishing. Cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces.
- Place the oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven (at least 4-quart capacity) and heat on medium-high until shimmering. Add the asparagus stalks, tossing to be sure all the pieces are coated with the oil. Cook, stirring regularly, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onions to the asparagus. Cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add the potatoes, lemongrass paste, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the potatoes are cooked about halfway through, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring continuously, 30 seconds or until fragrant. Pour in 2 cups of the stock to disperse the lemongrass and garlic pastes, coating all the vegetables, bringing out their natural flavors. Stir in the remaining stock and water, and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Use a fork or knife to test doneness - if there is any resistance, cook a bit longer.
- When the vegetables are tender, puree the soup in a blender, working in batches (never filling it more than 1/2 full to allow for heat expansion) until very smooth. When each batch is done pour the puree through the sieve set over the bowl to remove any remaining solids. Repeat pureeing with remaining soup, again straining the puree into the bowl if needed.
- Wipe out the stockpot and pour the pureed soup back into the pot. If it is too thick, add a little more stock to thin. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Reheat gently over low heat. The soup can also be served chilled for hot summer days.
- To Serve: Cook the reserved asparagus tips in the microwave for 30 seconds. You want them cooked but still crunchy for texture. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips, chopped nuts (if using), and a sprinkling of chives. Serve immediately.
- To Store: Transfer the soup to an airtight container, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store cooked asparagus tips separately.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Other Gourmet Garden Recipes from The Heritage Cook!
Thai Pineapple Shrimp over Spicy Herbed Rice (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)
Brazilian Chicken Stew with Lemongrass-Cilantro Sauce (Gluten-Free)
Gourmet Garden recipes from other talented bloggers!
Pineapple Cilantro Margaritas from Carrie of Poet in the Pantry
Caesar Salad Dressing from Kathy and Roxanne of Plugged into Cooking
Creamy Avocado and Cilantro Dressing from Fabiola of Not Just Baked
Slow Cooker Ginger Applesauce from Cindy of Cindy’s Recipes & Writings
Veg and Herb Roll from Jane of Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Create a New Tradition Today!
Let’s connect! If you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, need to alter a recipe for gluten-free, or want recipe suggestions, don’t hesitate to email me. Thanks for joining the Heritage Cook Family!
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