Farmers’ Market Soup

I went nuts at the farmers’ market this week. I bought asparagus from 3 different vendors. And strawberries from everyone who had them! I bought a few pounds of mushrooms, a few early tomatoes, spring onions, a ton of spinach and arugula–I adore arugula and I can’t wait to eat that next!

We have been enjoying the return of local food to the midwest and eating salads from the planters on our deck as accompaniments.

Two days ago for dinner I served crimini mushrooms, asparagus and spinach with garlic and thyme over a bed of rice. It was simple and clean and so filling!

Last night I made a really beautiful “cream” of asparagus soup with tons of veggies. I referenced a few recipes and I got the idea for adding barley to make it creamier from a Vegetarian Times recipe. They used basmati rice, but we only eat white rice if we are eating out a Thai or Indian or Mexican restaurant. I find the only way to actually choose wild rice is to not keep white rice in the house, and I thought brown rice sounded pretty gross in this recipe. I used Barley instead but still needed to add some Non-Dairy milk to thin the consistency. It was perfect for B to practice eating with a spoon because it was pretty thick. The vegetarian times recipe called for 8 cups of liquid and I used only 6, so it could be thinned further to feed 4-6 people. At first, I used a food processor to blend it, but found it was still thick, so I went to the immersion blender which worked great.

The baby loved it, the husband loved it, I loved it. It was so filling and fresh and of the moment. The soup was ephemeral and evanescent and all those other things that food should be! Except the broccoli, which isn’t in season yet, but I really only used the stems to add more depth to the flavor of the stock and it was on the verge of going bad.

As a main course, this served our family of 2 adults and a toddler, with a small portion of leftovers. If the soup were served with a side salad, appetizers, or along side steamed veggies and rice, it would probably serve 6 easily.

Farmers' Market Soup- IngredientsAsparagus Soup Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 Tbspn Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs asparagus
  • 1 bunch spring onions(about 6), whites and greens spearated and chopped
  • 5 cups water or homemade veggie stock (I used the boiling water from cooking corn because I was cooking for Biddi’s lunch at the same time)
  • 3-4 celery stalks, diced
  • stems of 1 head of broccoli, peeled and rough chop
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach (washed and stems removed) roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tspn coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tspn thyme
  • 1/2 tspn italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grain, such as barley
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (such as almond milk)

Asparagus Soup Cooking Method

  1. Heat Oil in stock pot over medium heat and add leeks; sauté for 5 minutes
  2. Chop asparagus, removing tough ends and reserving 2″ fronds/tips for garnish
  3. Add asparagus stems to leeks and sauté for 5 minutes
  4. Add Water, herbs and sea salt
  5. Add celery, spinach and broccoli stems and simmer on medium low for 5 minutes
  6. Add barley and simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Add non-dairy milk
  8. Use immersion blender to get soup to smooth consistency
  9. Add reserved asparagus tips and allow to cook for about 5 minutes before serving
  10. Serve with salt and pepper and a drizzle of chili oil or tabasco sauce for an extra kick.


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