things i like best about this easy asparagus soup:
- it’s easy
- it’s delicious
- it’s adaptable
- it uses up leftover asparagus stems
- did i mention it’s easy?
easy, as in, sauté chopped shallots, add asparagus that has been cut or snapped into 2 or 3 pieces along with some garlic, add broth, and blend. aaaand done.
regarding the deliciousness, this easy asparagus soup is kind of like a good magic trick: the flavor is both simple and complex. it manages to have both a strong, clean asparagus flavor and also not be boring or one note. magic i tell you. (magic/the fact that this easy asparagus soup is made without cream, which would dull the flavor. vegan for the win!)
and in terms of adaptability, the first time i made this soup, i followed the recipe “exactly”. (if you’ve been following along here for any length of time, you know this statement falls somewhere between an exaggeration and an outright lie. what is more true is that the changes i made were minor and didn’t dramatically alter the soup – olive oil for butter to sauté the shallots, etc.)
the second time i made the soup, i made a more drastic change, which was to add a can of cannellini beans to the soup before i blended it. i wanted to see what would happen if i tried to make the soup heartier and turn it into a meal (at least by my standards – i know i’m not fooling any dedicated carnivores).
and i would say that i accomplished my mission of making the soup heartier. i would also say that i liked the clean asparagus flavor better in the soup without the beans. i think when i make the soup again (hello, multiple tupperware containers of leftover asparagus stems that i’ve been saving from other recipes over the past few days!), i will make it without beans and just know that it won’t be the only thing i eat at that meal. it very well may be the most delicious though…
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium/large shallots, diced
- 16 oz. (454 g.) asparagus or asparagus stems (1 bunch is usually 16 oz.)
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 32 fl. oz. (4 cups / 960 ml) low sodium vegetable (or chicken) broth, see notes
- 15.5 oz. (439 g.) low sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, optional – see notes
- wash the asparagus (no need to dry) and trim off the bottom ½” (1.25 cm) if it looks particularly gnarly, otherwise leave it. cut or snap the asparagus into 2 – 3 pieces.
- heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat. add the shallots and sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened. add the asparagus and garlic; stir and let it cook for 1 minute.
- add the broth, partially cover the pan, set a timer for 8 minutes, and turn the heat up to high to bring the soup to a boil. once boiling, adjust the heat so that the soup simmers for the rest of the 8 minutes. at the end of the 8 minutes, check the asparagus with the tip of a sharp knife to see if it has softened. if you’re using the beans, add them now.
- once the asparagus is soft, carefully transfer the soup to a blender (a high speed blender like a vitamix will produce the smoothest soup). if your blender doesn’t have a steam vent in the lid, replace the little plastic centerpiece with a dishtowel you don’t mind getting dirty folded over a few times to let the steam escape without burning your hand. start the blender on low speed and work up to high speed to prevent volcanic eruptions. blend until smooth. serve hot.
make sure you use a broth you like the taste of with this easy asparagus soup, since it will contribute a lot of the finished flavor. i always use better than bouillon’s roasted chicken base reduced sodium for anything that calls for broth because i like the flavor, i like the convenience, and i like not lugging home and then throwing in the recycling bin a bunch of those 32 oz. cardboard cartons. it’s not labelled gluten free, though, so if that’s a concern, stick with what you know you tolerate.
i like the flavor of this soup best without the cannellini beans but if you wanted to thicken the soup and make it heartier without cream/keep it vegan, the beans are a good choice.
leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days and, i haven’t tried it yet, but i imagine they would also freeze well, since there’s no dairy. let us know in the comments if you do try freezing leftovers!
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