Asparagus and Spinach Soup

May 13, 2010


Appetizers, Dinner, Local Eating, Lunch, Recipes, Seasons, Side Dishes, Soup, Spring

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Someone once asked if I’d seen Goop, that insidious ‘newsletter’ put out by Gwyneth Paltrow. I had not. Now, I get a little note in my inbox every Thursday telling me about all sorts of crazy things I can either: MAKE GO GET DO BE or SEE. All of which regularly return to the theme of thin.
Obviously, I am not the first to recognize this. Much has been made of Gwyneth’s fasting, dieting, and her seemingly constant desire to lose whatever ‘few pounds’ she’s recently put on. It’s hysterical, really, and I continue to get the email, just wanting to find out what tightrope she’s shuffling to skinny. It seems to involve a lot of fresh juices and soups, and sometimes expensive powders that she drinks for weeks on end.


All in all, a liquid life is not that appealing to me. Until spring: when the season comes, as the weather warms, (or heats up, if you’re here in Houston) it’s a nice feeling to go to bed full of a gentle soup—nothing too sparse, but something you could consume to your heart’s content while still feeling like a sylvan sprite. My friend Lindsey calls this kind of thing, “Hummingbird food.” And who doesn’t want to feel like a hummingbird come springtime?
Asparagus is one of my all time favorites markers of this fleeting season. Lately, I’ve been grilling it, serving it in salads with loads of Parmesan cheese or using it as a green raft for a floating fried egg. This soup can be hard to make, if only because blending such a beautiful food into mush seems like a real waste. Until you realize that it can be frozen and enjoyed in the dead of December. Now that’s my kind of asparagus. (I’m sure Gwyneth would be proud of me for incorporating it into a post-Christmas cleanse…)
I jest, but only somewhat. The truth is, this soup is certainly made for private moments: it’s nothing glamorous, or robust, or dinner-party worthy. But on the first hot night in Houston, after sweating and twisting and burning through 90 minutes of power yoga, a little bowl of green feels like just what the doctor ordered. I’ve taken to sauteing some raw spinach into it to add some bulk, or sprinkling it with a hard boiled egg or Parmesan cheese, and even though those garnishes are exactly what adorn my usual plate of grilled, roasted or raw asparagus, there’s something about spooning it that’s totally refreshing.


Asparagus and Spinach Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

3 bunches green asparagus, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 c spinach, well washed

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 T olive oil

1/4 c white wine

1 c light cocnut milk

1 QT (4 c) vegetable or chicken broth

S & P to taste


In a heavy-bottomed skillet saute onion in oil for about 7 minutes or until translucent.

Add asparagus, celery and wine and saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes more.

Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer about 30 minutes, or until broth is reduced somewhat.

Add spinach and cook until wilte.

Allow soup to cool slightly then puree in batches to desired consistency.

You can pass this soup through a food mill if you prefer a thinner version.

Garnish with chopped egg, parmesean cheese or simple herbs and serve warm or cold.

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