Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Ok, so this is my third asparagus recipe in a row, but I suppose that’s what happens when you primarily eat seasonally and locally. {sorry/not sorry}  This soup is velvety, full of spring flavors, and just happens to be vegan.  I wanted to make a creamy soup, but didn’t have any cream in the house…BUT I did have a big bag of cashews, so I made cashew cream.  It’s easy and adds such a wonderfully luscious texture and richness to the soup.  I’ve also got a trick to making the soup super green…souper green?!

Last month I made a huge batch of vegetable stock from mostly food scraps I’d been saving up and storing in the freezer.  I don’t really have a recipe for it as I just use what’s on hand.  I do tend to use (roughly) equal portions of celery, carrot scraps and onions or leek scraps.  I also threw in a sliced sweet potato for added sweetness, some mushrooms that needed to be used up, a random jalapeno, a couple bay leaves, and some herbs (sage, thyme and oregano) that had been drying in a paper bag in the fridge–an awesome trick I learned from the farmers of my CSA!  I cover the veg with water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour.  Strain it a couple times, pour into clean jars and freeze.  It’s so easy and is a great way to use up scraps or past-their-prime vegetables loitering about in the fridge.

Homemade vegetable stock

Now on to the soup!  After trimming the asparagus ends I add them to a pot with the vegetable stock (or you can use water) to impart a bit of asparagus flavor into the liquid. This isn’t a necessary step; it’s just another way to use up all parts of the vegetable. You will end up discarding the ends by straining the stock into the soup base, but you can compost them after they’ve been spent. Or, you can just add boxed vegetable stock or even water straight to the soup base and skip this step.

While the stock is infusing, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pot and add chopped asparagus and onions; cook for 10 – 15 minutes until asparagus is tender then add garlic, a hefty pinch of salt and cook for another few minutes.

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Strain the stock into the soup, add red pepper flakes and cook until the asparagus is very soft, about 10 – 15 minutes longer.  Now here’s the trick to making the soup gorgeously green instead of that muddy greenish/brownish color – add spinach!  It boosts color and nutrition!

Meanwhile, make the shiitake “croutons” – saute the mushrooms in olive oil until cooked through and beginning to crisp around the edges, then season with salt and pepper.

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

After the spinach has wilted, it’s time to puree.  I use a hand-held immersion blender, but you can also transfer the soup in batches to a stand blender, then return it to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in most of the cashew cream (made from equal parts raw cashews and water blended together then strained), reserving the rest to drizzle over individual bowls.

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Dish it up: ladle soup into bowls, drizzle some of the cashew cream on top and sprinkle on chopped chives…

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

…and top with the shiitake “croutons”!

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Grab a spoon and dig in!

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake 'Croutons'

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
5 cups vegetable stock or water
2 pounds asparagus (ends trimmed and added to stock), chopped
5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
salt and pepper
3 ounces spinach, chopped
1 cup cashew cream (1 1/4 cups raw cashews blended with 1 1/4 cups water, then strained)
chopped chives for garnish

Heat the vegetable stock or water to a boil and add the asparagus ends; reduce heat and simmer while preparing the soup base.  This step is optional, you can also just add the stock or water directly to the soup base when ready.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat and add the onions and asparagus.  Cook until the onions are translucent and the asparagus is tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Add a hefty pinch of salt and the garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Strain the stock into the asparagus mixture (soup base) and discard the asparagus ends; or just add vegetable stock or water.  Add the red pepper flakes, stir, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat and add the mushrooms.  Cook until the mushrooms are fully cooked through and beginning to crisp along the edges.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

To the soup, add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted, 3 – 5 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or transfer in batches to a stand blender and return to pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in 3/4 cup of the cashew cream.  Taste again adjust seasoning.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, drizzle remaining cashew cream on top, sprinkle with chopped chives and shiitake “croutons”.  Enjoy! 

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8 thoughts on “Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

  1. Reblogged this on sondasmcschatter and commented:
    SOUNDS AWESOME———

  2. Mmmmm that looks so tasty! Love the photographs as well!

  3. No need to apologize for lots of asparagus posts. This looks incredible!

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