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Velvety Asparagus Soup: Harnessing the Power of Blended Soups to Maximize Vegetable Intake


asparagus soup

Vegetables are a cornerstone to both physical vitality and mental well-being, containing an array of vital nutrients and health benefits. Despite their pivotal role, only 10 percent of Americans meet the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. These nutrient-dense powerhouses, laden with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, hold the potential to mitigate numerous health risks, from heart disease to cognitive decline. Yet vegetables often take a backseat when it comes to making meal choices, often overshadowed by quick convenience foods that lack a colorful array of vegetables.


To optimize health, experts advocate for a diet abundant in vegetables, comprising half of one's plate. This article provides a tasty and creative culinary strategy to optimize vegetable consumption. Get ready to dive into easy-to-make blended soups using the nutritional bounty of seasonal produce, and get a silky spring Velvety Asparagus Soup recipe to inspire a journey toward vibrant, plant-powered eating.


Only 10 Percent of Americans Get Enough Fruits and Veggies

cooking in the kitchen

Veggies are a key component for physical and mental health yet only one in ten Americans get enough fruits and vegetables each day. Vegetables provide gut-loving fiber, anti-inflammatory antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, and much more. They are what you would consider a nutrient-dense food, meaning they have a high vitamin and mineral content in relation to their weight or calories (meaning you get a LOT of nutrition packed into every single low-calorie bite). Vegetables have been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. They've also been shown to promote gut, skin, eye, and brain health. They've even been shown to boost mood!


Despite their myriad of benefits, our average vegetable consumption is only once a day. It's not that it's a lack of knowing that veggies are good for us. It's just that they don't top our minds when thinking about what to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Typically the macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and fat, lead the race when it comes to determining what to eat. However, most of us get plenty of those! It's the lower calorie, vitamin- and mineral-packed veggie underdogs that deserve the spotlight in our menu plan.


In fact, to feel our best physically and mentally, plant-based nutrition experts recommend filling up our plate with one-half vegetables, one-quarter whole grains or starches, and one-quarter plant-based protein, like beans, peas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds. This is a distant picture compared to what most of us are currently getting. So, how can we consume more vegetables every single day to feel and perform our very best?


Download the handy visual below from The Vegetarian Resource Group showing what a plant-powered nutritious plate looks like.


MyVeganPlate
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Download PDF • 11.34MB

How to Eat More Vegetables

a plate full of vegetables
photo credit: Nadine Primeau, Unsplash

There are many delicious ways to sneak in veggies, like tossing them into stir fries, hiding them in plant-based mac 'n cheese, dicing and mixing them into veggie burgers, and blending them into soups and smoothies. See my article, 15 Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies for simple and tasty ways to include them daily. Today, we are going to dive into one luscious approach to tackle those veggies.


Blended Soups for the Win!

blended asparagus soup

Cooking vegetables before blending them into a creamy soup is one delicious and nutritious way to consume many vegetables in just one sitting. When you sauté veggies with aromatics like onion, garlic, and ginger plus a variety of spices, you get loads of flavor along with oodles of nutrients. Plus the combinations are endless! Make a Mediterranean-based creamy soup by cooking onions, peppers, zucchini, and potatoes plus herbs and spices, like oregano and garlic powder, before blending it with some veggie broth to make a delectable creamy soup. Or make an autumn-inspired soup by cooking onion, carrots, and sweet potatoes together along with warming spices, like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, then adding veggie broth before blending to create a vitamin-A- and fiber-rich comforting soup.


Today's soup, Velvety Asparagus Soup, is simple, yet packs plenty of creamy texture and vibrant flavor in every bite. We start by sautéing shallots, garlic, and asparagus with cumin and a bit of salt and pepper. Then we will add vegetable broth, bring it to a boil then simmer until the asparagus is tender and a beautiful bright green hue. The final step is blending! To boost the protein in this soup and add an even creamier texture, silken tofu is blended into the veggies. This soup serves two. That means that there is over a pound of vegetables (asparagus, shallots, and garlic) in just one serving!


Choosing Seasonal Produce

seasonal produce asparagus

When you visit the grocery store or your local farmers market, you may notice when certain produce is in season or out of season. Seasonal produce is produce that is available during certain times of the year and is consumed around the time that it's harvested. Enjoying produce right after harvest is beneficial from both nutrition and culinary perspectives. In-season produce that is harvested locally or regionally can have significantly more nutrition and flavor compared to out-of-season produce or produce that has traveled for weeks to get to the grocery store before sitting on the shelves for days before reaching your plate. Nutrition and flavor are diminished every day that produce is in transit or on shelves.


Seasonal produce is also better for the environment. Fruits and vegetables thrive when they're able to grow in their natural season and, when consumed locally, need less long-distance transportation and extensive refrigeration. Consuming local or regional foods results in a reduced carbon footprint while supporting the local economy and farmers.


Choosing seasonal produce is a win for both people and the planet. Today's recipe features in-season, asparagus.


Benefits of Asparagus

asparagus mushrooms and garlic

Like many vegetables, asparagus is low in calories and soaring in antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin A. It's also an excellent source of folate. All of these essential nutrients have been shown to promote brain health and support a good mood, among many other benefits.


Another mood-supporting nutrient in asparagus is fiber, and not just any type of fiber, but prebiotic fiber — the type that gut bacteria love. Asparagus supports brain health and mood by nourishing the gut and, therefore, the gut-brain axis. When your gut is happy, your brain and mind are happy.


Asparagus is also packed with phytonutrients, which are compounds that often act like antioxidants. Notable phytonutrients in asparagus include glutathione, flavonoids and polyphenols that have been shown to fight inflammation and inflammatory diseases.


Below is the recipe for Velvety Asparagus Soup that takes only 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook. Serve it with some crusty whole grain seed-y bread (YUM!) and have yourself a nourishing and satisfying plant-powered meal that the whole family will love (double the recipe for 4 people).


Velvety Asparagus Soup

velvety asparagus soup


Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped shallots

  • 4 large garlic cloves, roughly minced

  • 2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1-2” pieces

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Dash of black pepper

  • 2 cups veggie broth

  • 1/2 cup organic silken tofu


Topping options

  • dash of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

  • microgreens

  • chives or other yummy herbs

  • pepitas

  • a dollop of unsweetened and unflavored plant-based yogurt


How to make

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil (use water or veggie broth for oil-free), shallots and garlic, cooking until fragrant, about one minute.

  2. Add asparagus and cumin, salt and pepper, and cook until slightly charred, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add veggie broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender but still green, about 7 minutes.

  4. Transfer mixture into a blender, add the tofu and blend until creamy. Alternatively use an immersion blender in the pot!

  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Garnish with fun toppings of your choice. (Options are listed above, but feel free to get creative with your own toppings!)


What in-season produce are you cooking up this spring?

2件のコメント


ゲスト
4月27日

Thank you so much for this super easy and delicious way for me to use up an entire bunch of asparagus. =). My family loved this soup, which went perfectly with the veggie pizza that my four year old helped make last night for dinner. <3

いいね!
返信先

Awe, that's wonderful to hear! And how fun that your four year old is your helping hand in the kitchen! I love that those kitchen skills are getting fostered at such a young age. Thank you for sharing! :-)

いいね!
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