I’m absolutely loving the season’s asparagus this year! It’s delicious anyway you cook it. Asparagus soup was one of my all time favorite soups growing up as a child. It’s a pleasure to make from scratch and not eat it from a can like I did so many years ago. The recipe is super easy to pull together and much more flavorful than any canned asparagus soup. I highly recommend making it at least once while fresh asparagus is in season. I’ve also included red lentils in this recipe to round out the nutritional profile and add heartiness. Finishing of the soup with a little lemon juice will add brightness to the overall dish. It’s all so simple and good! And, don’t let the short list of ingredients fool you. You can be sure this soup will be filling and satisfying!
The lentils will add density to the soup making it thick and creamy. They will also be our main source of protein and will round out the nutritional profile. I’ve used red lentils in a few other soup recipes like this Creamy Broccoli + Red Lentil Soup and this Butternut Squash + Red Lentil Soup. I love using these lentils in pureed soups. They have a mild flavor and soften up quickly. I also love the fact that they cook up very light in color as to not change the overall color of the dish too much. Pureeing other lentils here would result in a muddy colored soup, not very pleasing to the eye. Red lentils are my favorite for pureed soups!
Leeks are another favorite of mine. I try to use them whenever I can. Compared to onions, they have a more delicate, sweeter flavor that I love. If you can’t find them or don’t care to use them, 1 medium sized white onion will do just fine. When using leeks, be sure to rinse them well under cool running water to help remove any sand or dirt that has collected between the stalk slices. Once trimmed and cleaned, slice thinly and you’re ready to cook.
Once the leeks are sauteed, add in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes or so. You can see how the ingredients have softened and the red lentils have cooked up light. Looks pretty delicious if you ask me. If you don’t feel like pureeing the soup, go ahead and eat it as is. I won’t tell a soul! :)
For some added crunch, try making these no-fuss and easy to make croutons. I simply used the ends of my favorite seeded bread. They were loaded with nuts and seeds making them a perfect choice for me. Use your favorite bread. I tossed my cubed bread in a little garlic olive oil and added a pinch of garlic powder. My method of toasting was using a toaster oven but you can use the broiler as noted in the recipe. Turned out perfectly!
CREAMY ASPARAGUS + RED LENTIL SOUP
- 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
- 2 leeks
- 8 – 10 fresh tarragon leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 1 1b. asparagus
- 6 cups vegetable broth or water (I used a combo)
- mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 loaf ends, cubed
- 1 – 2 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil (neutral plain oil works great too)
- pinch of garlic powder
Prep veggies: Trim both ends off the leeks, we’ll be using the white and light green parts only. Make a slit down the center lengthwise and run under cool water to remove any debris/dirt that may have collected between the layers. Lay on flat surface, thinly slice widthwise. Here is a great guide to prepping leeks. Trim asparagus ends and discard. Cut remaining asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
Cook: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add in tarragon, lentils, asparagus, vegetable broth and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Let cool a bit. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until desired consistency (I left mine a little chunky). You can also puree using a blender or food processor (this method will most likely require you to puree in 2 batches). Once pureed, add back to the stove and add juice of 1 lemon, give a good stir. Add more water as needed to thin, no more than 1 cup should be needed. Taste for seasoning and heat on low as needed to warm.
Croutons: While the soup is cooking or cooling, cube two slices of your favorite bread (I used the end pieces). Place cubes on a small baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt and toss well to coat. Toast in a toaster oven as if toasting bread (this was my method using the small tray that came with the toaster oven). Alternately, use the broiler in your oven and set it at medium, place baking sheet under broiler for 5 – 7 minutes, tossing once or twice, until bread is toasted and slightly golden. Simple and easy croutons!
Serve: Serve soup in individual bowls topped with croutons and fresh cracked pepper.
Feel free to change up the herbs. A few good replacements for the tarragon would be dill or thyme.