I have reached a point in my dietary journey where I thoroughly and absolutely enjoy eating certain vegetables. Asparagus is definitely one of those vegetables for me. I understand that eating vegetables is not a pleasurable venture for many people for a variety of reasons. One of my goals for this blog is to make eating vegetables more approachable, and to thwart (good word!) the perception that healthy eating has to in any way resemble punishment. While I enjoy asparagus prepared in a whole host of fashions, my husband Brian is off put by the stringy and woody texture it can take on at times. Blending asparagus into a lovely velvety soup solves this issue quite nicely!
I learned recently that the predominant nutrient in spinach is Vitamin A, not iron as I had once thought. This being said, I still think Popeye was right to eat so much of it. I like to think he would be super proud of the amount of spinach I packed into this soup. It also occurs to me that Popeye’s eyesight must have been out of bounds. Saving some fresh spinach to blend in at the end gives this soup a lovely green color. You could omit this step, but in my opinion food should both look and taste fantastic.
Asparagus Spinach Soup
Makes 10 Servings
1 oz Grated Sharp or Nutty Cheese Parmigiano-Reggiano
8 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach (I use Olivia’s Organic)
2 Medium-Sized Sweet Onions
2 Cups Milk
6 Cups Water
4 Bunches Asparagus (approx. 8 Cups Chopped)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
4 to 6 shakes of Hot Sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)
3 TBSP Garlic Powder
Non-stick cooking spray
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
1. Cut the ends off the onions, and then placing them end side down on the cutting board, cut each onion in half. Turn onion halves so the flat interior is now face-down on the cutting board, and proceed to cut the four halves length-wise into fairly thin slices.
2. Coat a Non-Stick or Cast Iron Skillet with Non-Stick Cooking Spray and bring to medium-high heat. Add the Onions to the hot pan and sweat them for about 8 to 10 minutes, until they begin to turn brown and most of the moisture has evaporated. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pan with a lid. Turn the onions every 5 or 6 minutes for about 30 minutes or until a beautiful carmelization is achieved.
3. Cut the woody white stems off the bottom of the Asparagus spears, and discard. Slice the spears in half and add to the soup pot. Fill the pot until it just covers the spears and cover with a lid. Bring the pot to a soft boil on high heat, and then turn down the heat slightly. Cook the spears until just tender.
4. Coat a non-stick or Cast Iron Skillet with Non-Stick Cooking Spray and bring to medium-high heat. Add 6 cups of the spinach and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the Asparagus and water to a large bowl. Take out your favorite blender or food processor and make the magic happen. Blend the wilted Spinach, 6 cups of water, Aparagus, and carmelized Onions in 2 to 3 batches, depending on what sort of workload your food blending device can ideally handle.
6. Transfer the blended ingredients into the now vacant Soup Pot. Stir in the Milk, Garlic, and Hot Sauce. Take about 2 cups of the Soup and blend with the remaining 2 cups of Fresh Baby Spinach. Transfer this St. Patrick worthy concoction back to the Soup Pot and stir to distribute the lovely green color. Heat the soup slightly on medium-low, add the Grated Cheese and stir until melted. Kill the heat and finish the Soup by stirring in the Pepper and Salt.
5. I recommend accompanying this soup with a lovely melted Pastrami and Swiss on Pumpernickel. Trader Joe’s makes a delicious Uncured Pastrami and my go-to cheese in this situation is definitely Finlandia Light Swiss. I’ll leave you to advise me on the best choice for Pumpernickel. 😉