Whenever I'm roasting asparagus, I always use the snap method to get the proper amount off the spear. My problem with this is how much waste I produce with the ends. I save all my scraps from veggies for stock making, but asparagus doesn't add much flavour to stocks so I'd been saving asparagus ends in a ziploc bag in my freezer for months. Cue asparagus end soup.
When I was a teenager, I got annoyed with throwing out pea pods when we bought fresh peas at the market. I made a pea pod soup - and although I used a crappy blender to try and mix everything, it was tasty but also a bit pulpy. Using a high powered blender is the best way to make a soup out of anything and being sure it will have a great texture. As a lot of you know, I've been loving my new Vitamix and finding ways to incorporate tons of recipes into it - mostly to justify the price of it.
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Ingredients for Asparagus End Soup
All the ingredients in this dish are naturally vegan and gluten-free. Asparagus end soup is an incredible way to load up on tons of fresh vegetables in a delicious way. The ingredients are:
- Asparagus ends and/or Asparagus
- Spinach or Mixed Greens
- White Wine
- Vegetable Broth
- Hemp Hearts (or Oats)
- Olive Oil
- (Optional) Yogurt/Cream to serve
Ingredient Substitutions for Asparagus End Soup
Fun fact! My household is currently doing a pantry challenge. I'm always very aware of ingredient substitutions and knowing what is replaceable and what isn't. Because of the pantry challenge, I'm hyper aware of how I can make readers feel more comfortable to play with my recipes in ways that they can manage with what they already have.
Some ingredients I wouldn't recommend swapping out are the leek and asparagus. With that being said, you can use any combination of asparagus ends and asparagus. You can see in my mise en place above that I have a few asparagus spears as well as the ends - this isn't mandatory, I just didn't have enough ends and didn't want to waste the few spears I had. Obviously this soup also works with 100% asparagus if you don't have a reserve of asparagus ends at home.
Shallots and garlic are interchangeable to a certain extent with white or yellow onions. Try and keep the weight or measurements close to the same, and if you skip on shallots for all garlic, know that shallots aren't as potent so you may have a stronger garlic taste. The same applies if you skip on shallots for onions - you'll have a stronger onion taste.
For white wine, you can use apple cider vinegar in equal ratios. Personally, I actually ran out of white wine and I used the same measurement of half water and half white wine vinegar. It's best if you use white wine, but it's mostly for an acidic kick.
For stock or broth, you can use any kind you have available. I used homemade chicken stock because it's what I had on hand. It's preferable to use homemade stock, but if you're using store bought try and get a high quality and/or organic broth or stock.
Hemp hearts aren't mandatory, but they add a nice body to the soup. You can use oats instead if you don't have hemp hearts on hand.
For the oil, you can use any oil or fat on hand. If you aren't vegan, bacon fat adds an amazing depth to the soup. Also, if you're just vegetarian and not vegan, ghee is a great alternative as well.
Asparagus End Soup Instructions
After preparing your mise en place, the actual work that goes into Asparagus End Soup is pretty minimal. First, you'll sauté your aromatics (leeks, shallots, garlic) and then deglaze with wine. Add in the hemp hearts and broth and simmer. After a few minutes, add in the asparagus and simmer. Finally, add in the greens and simmer until wilted. After all ingredients are cooked fully, let the mixture cool to 170 degrees and place in a blender and blend until combined.
If you're using an immersion blender, you don't need to let the mixture cool. The max temperature for my blender (the Vitamix 5200) is 170 degrees - though your personal blender may be different due to different materials. Always check your owner's manual before placing hot liquids into your blender. Make sure to leave enough headspace that there's at least a centimetre between the top of the soup and the max fill line. It's okay to blend in batches - just combine each batch together after blending to ensure even flavour distribution.
You can add salt and pepper throughout the cooking process, but I recommend leaving most of it to post-blending to ensure you're getting a full idea of the flavour before over-salting.
Looking for more zero waste recipes? Check out my other scrap friendly recipes here.
Asparagus End Soup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups leek greens, white and light green part only from about 2 leeks
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ½ lb asparagus ends about 4 cups
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- Handle all your prep work by slicing the leeks and mincing the garlic and shallot. It's also helpful to measure out all the other ingredients, and break the asparagus into 3 inch spears.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add in leeks, garlic and shallots. Saute until they become fragrant and slightly translucent. Once a bit of brown spots develop on the pan, add in the wine to deglaze and bring to a boil to evaporate the alcohol.
- Next, add in your hemp hearts (or oats) and saute for another 2 minutes. Add in the broth and bring to a boil before adding the asparagus. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the asparagus is fork tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add in the spinach. Stir the spinach in the hot liquid until it wilts. Let the temperature of the soup reach 170 or below (or whatever your blender can handle) before adding it to your blender.
- Blend on the highest setting until it is completely smooth and there are no visible pieces of spinach or other greens. If desired, you can run the soup through a fine mesh sieve for a better texture, but if your blender is powerful enough it shouldn't be too grainy.
- Once blended, taste for salt and pepper. Add more as needed. If desired, you can top with cream or yogurt for presentation. It doesn't add much taste but does look pretty.
- Enjoy your soup within 5 days of cooking to ensure maximum freshness.
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