My asparagus soup is a light and delicious recipe that makes wonderful use of one of my favorite seasonal ingredients. Prepared without heavy cream yet with a wonderfully smooth and velvety texture, this asparagus soup recipe is kissed with the flavor of leeks and garlic, brimming with lots of savory flavor and vibrant color!
A Seasonal, Light Meal in a Bowl of Soup
While long, elegant and vibrantly green asparagus is available to us year-round, spring is the season when this gorgeous piece of versatile produce is at its peak of flavor and abundance.
We see it neatly stacked in tight little bundles in our markets, just waiting to be prepared in some delicious way—perhaps sauteed, steamed, roasted or grilled—and enjoyed as a delightful vegetable accompaniment next to a delectably flaky piece of fish or a juicy steak.
But asparagus is a terrific piece of produce to make a light, complete meal out of, such as with this delicious asparagus soup recipe that’s brimming with flavor and smooth, velvety texture.
While asparagus soup so often contains heavy cream, my recipe leaves that out, making this version a little healthier and lighter, filled with the flavors of leeks and a hint of garlic, plus a little squeeze of lemon.
Asparagus soup is the perfect soup for this time of year, creating a light, simple and seasonal meal out of a delicately beautiful piece of produce.
How to Lighten Up Asparagus Soup
While cream of asparagus soup (or a creamy asparagus soup) contains heavy cream, my recipe is lighter and brighter.
I like a nice velvety texture when it comes to asparagus soup, yet I prefer to achieve that using a bit of a healthier alternative to adding the cream…
My secret is that I add finely diced russet potatoes to the pot after I’ve lightly sauteed my leeks and garlic in a small amount butter and oil, and I allow those veggies to simmer in the stock/broth for a short while just until softened before adding in my cut asparagus.
Once pureed, the addition of the slightly starchy potatoes in the soup helps to create a smooth, velvety and slightly thicker texture, similar to what heavy cream would bring to the mix, only lighter.
It’s only at the end, as an optional garnish, that I like to add a drizzle of crème fraiche or sour cream to each bowl.
Here’s a glance at how I make my asparagus soup: (or just jump to the full recipe…)
- In a large soup pot, I add a small amount of butter (for flavor) and some olive oil; and once melted together, I add my sliced leeks and saute until softened.
- Next, I add my garlic and my additional seasoning, followed by my diced potatoes and my chicken stock (or broth); I allow things to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, just until the potatoes are tender.
- Then, I add in my cut asparagus and allow it to soften for a few minutes, until crisp on the outside yet tender on the inside, then turn the heat off from under the soup and puree with my immersion blender.
- To finish, I check the seasoning and add a tiny squeeze of lemon, then ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of crème fraiche or sour cream, a sprinkle of tiny croutons, and reserved, blanched asparagus tips.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 231 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 leeks (pale green and white part only), cleaned and sliced
- Black pepper
- 4 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
- 1/4 teaspoons ground white pepper
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
- 6 cups chicken stock/broth
- 2 pounds asparagus, tough bottoms trimmed and cut into roughly 1” pieces (a few tips reserved for optional garnish)
- Squeeze of lemon
- Creme fraiche or sour cream, optional garnish
- Croutons, micro greens, optional garnish
- Place a medium-large soup pot over medium-high heat, and add the butter and the olive oil; once melted, add the sliced leeks, a pinch or two of salt and black pepper, and saute those for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the leeks begin to soften.
- Add in the garlic, the Herbes de Provence and the white pepper, and stir to incorporate allowing the garlic to become aromatic; add in the diced potatoes and stir to combine and coat them in the mixture.
- Next, add in the chicken stock/broth, and bring the soup up to a vigorous simmer; reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for roughly 15 to 20 minutes, just until the diced potatoes are soft and begin to break down.
- Add in the asparagus and allow the soup to further simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes longer, just enough so that the asparagus becomes tender yet still vibrant (take care not to allow the asparagus to become mushy or too overcooked).
- Remove the soup from the heat, add a squeeze of lemon (I used about 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon worth, but I like mine a little brighter), and using either a hand immersion blender or a regular blender (work in batches in this case), puree the soup until completely smooth and silky, with little to no fiber-y bits.
- If preparing the asparagus tips as garnish, bring a small saucepan of well-salted water to the boil, turn off the heat, and drop in the tips; stir them for about 30 seconds just until crisp-tender and vibrant, then drain and shock in ice water; pat dry and set aside for garnish.
- To serve, ladle the asparagus soup into bowls and drizzle with a touch of crème fraiche or sour cream, perhaps some croutons and/or the asparagus tips and micro greens.
Tips & Tidbits for my Asparagus Soup:
- Fresh, vibrant asparagus spears: When choosing asparagus, opt for crisp, fresh and green spears. Avoid limp or rubbery stalks, as they are older, and the flavor and texture will not be as pleasing. Also, if you can find thinner stalks choose those.
- How to prepare asparagus spears: To prep your asparagus for this soup (or for any recipe), trim that bottom “woody” section from the spear and discard. To find a good “fresh” point for the spear, I’ll typically bend each spear at the bottom near that woody end, and wherever the spear naturally wants to snap is where I’ll cut (or snap) it off. For this recipe, cut the asparagus into 1” pieces, and reserve a few of the tips to blanch and use as garnish, if desired. If the asparagus is fresh and on the thinner side, the skin will typically be thin and fine to keep; however, if it seems thick and hard, you can lightly peel the spears.
- Leeks or onions: I like to use sliced leeks in this asparagus soup for a slightly more subtle flavor, but feel free to use onion if that is what you have on hand. If using leeks, use only the white/pale green part, and make sure to wash it well—dirt tends to hide in the rings.
- Tasty garnishes: To garnish the bowls of soup, I’m a fan of using one or two reserved asparagus spear tips that I’ve blanched for 30 seconds in boiling, salted water, then shocked in ice water for a minute or so. It’s nice to lay them over top of a drizzle of the crème fraiche or sour cream, just to showcase that it’s asparagus soup. Other great options are croutons, shaved parmesan, parmesan crisps (yum!), or toasted baguette with olive oil.
- Vegetarian or vegan options for asparagus soup: Asparagus soup is very adaptable, and is a terrific soup to prepare completely vegetarian or even vegan. For a vegetarian option, simply substitute vegetable stock/broth for the chicken; or to prepare a vegan version, use all olive oil and and sub vegetable stock/broth.