Cream of Asparagus Soup
One of my absolute favorite days of the year can’t be marked on a calendar or planned in advance. It’s the first moment in March when I walk into the store and see a big, beautiful display of well-priced asparagus. My favorite spring veggie has returned at last! Let’s celebrate with vibrant bowls of this luscious Cream of Asparagus Soup.
Asparagus season is preciously short. Every year, I spend the last several weeks of winter impatiently awaiting its arrival.
I’m still holding out for locally grown asparagus (Wisconsin produce runs a month or more behind the warmer zones of the country), but if you think that the gorgeous green stalks of $1.99/pound asparagus that are gracing our store’s shelves hasn’t lured me into a spring tizzy, well…you clearly have never watched me take down a bowl of fresh asparagus soup (or an asparagus tart or pretty much any one of these asparagus recipes).
I’m not alone in my asparagus fervor either.
Last night, my mother-in-law dropped four pounds of fresh asparagus off at our house because she was overzealous in her purchasing and wouldn’t be able to finish it all before leaving town.
Guess which lucky gal is having more Cream of Asparagus Soup this week!
As much as I love Cream of Asparagus Soup, I rarely order it out, as most restaurant versions I’ve tried are all about the cream and leave the asparagus as a casual afterthought.
I wanted more from my Cream of Asparagus Soup, and you should too.
Yes, asparagus soup should be creamy, but it also must genuinely celebrate this special spring vegetable.
Since I planned to eat my Cream of Asparagus Soup for lunch during the week, I wanted it to be healthy too.
To achieve my creamy-but-healthy goal, I tried this Cream of Asparagus Soup a few different ways:
- Cream of Asparagus Soup with Milk: Meh. It was too thin and (forgive my lack of vocabularly creativity here) milky.
- Cream of Asparagus Soup, Vegan: I also tried coconut milk in an experimental vegan version, and while it wasn’t bad, the coconut flavor overpowered the asparagus more than I wanted.
- Cream of Asparagus Soup, Barefoot Contessa: Since Ina seems to know all the answers, I referenced her Spring Pea Soup in Foolproof (one of my all-time fave cookbooks) for inspiration. The leeks stayed, and I also couldn’t resist keeping the crispy ham on top. For this Cream of Asparagus Soup, I updated Ina’s Spanish ham to bacon which is easier to find, but you can certainly keep the ham if you prefer.
- Cream of Asparagus Soup without Cream: Believe it or not, THIS WAS THE WINNER!
Here are my secrets to the most decadent-tasting Cream of Asparagus Soup that’s surprisingly light on calories.
The Secrets to Healthy Cream of Asparagus Soup
Instead of heavy cream, I added Yukon gold potatoes, which have a rich, creamy texture and naturally buttery flavor. You can’t taste them; rather, the potatoes give the Cream of Asparagus soup the luxurious, velvety texture I was after, no heavy cream required.
My other trick to making this a creamy soup without cream is Greek yogurt. I’ve been a devoted fan of adding Greek yogurt to my vegetable soups even since I first tried it in this Roasted Carrot Soup. It’s just as wonderful here too.
Whether you are looking for a crowd-pleasing dish for your Easter gathering or a healthy spring meal you can make and enjoy throughout the week, this healthy and easy asparagus soup is a perfect choice.
Asparagus, welcome back! I did miss you so.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
- 3 slices thick cut bacon — optional
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped leeks — white and light green parts; or swap yellow onion or shallot
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes — peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 10 ounces)
- 2 cloves garlic — minced
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth — or chicken broth
- 2 pounds asparagus — trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt — plus additional for serving (do not use fat free or it may curdle and the soup will not be as creamy)
If serving with bacon: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare according to this guide for Baked Bacon. Crumble or dice and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or similar medium/large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and potatoes cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, asparagus, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (You can also carefully transfer it to a blender or food processor in batches and blend it that way. Be careful as hot soup tends to splatter!) Return the blended soup to the pot and let cool a few minutes. Stir in the Greek yogurt, then season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Remember that if you are adding the bacon on top, it will also be salty, so be careful not to overdo it.
Serve hot, topped with crumbled bacon, a sprinkle of fresh chives, and an extra dollop of Greek yogurt as desired.
- To make vegetarian, omit the bacon or try swapping it for the roasted chickpea “croutons” in my recipe for Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad. To make vegan: omit the Greek yogurt or swap for a non-dairy yogurt. Omit bacon.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 m months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat gently on the stove top or in the microwave.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 4), without bacon) — Calories: 171, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 260mg, Carbohydrates: 32g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 8g, Protein: 10g
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