Chilled Asparagus and Pea Soup with fresh Mint
It’s a lot of fun find creative uses for plant trimmings or other bits that you may otherwise toss out.
The most obvious is to freeze trimmings for vegetable stock. We do this whenever we can, but our little tiny freezer in the truck is about the size of a shoebox, so we can’t fit too much. If you have the time and inclination, keep separate freezer bags of onion, carrot and celery trimmings. That will give you a basic stock. We try to keep bags of mushroom stems, fennel, parsley stems and cilantro roots, too. They all have their use in the stock pot. The cilantro roots we save for making Thai curry pastes.
A little while back we posted a recipe for a Swiss Chard Stem Chutney. We had used the leaves for another dish and didn’t have a plan for them. The chutney was great. It would also be fantastic with beet stems, too.
For our recipe today, we’re sharing a quick soup featuring leftover asparagus stems and pea pods. We made an Asparagus Salad with Fresh Peas and Tomato vinaigrette and had all those stems and pods left over. A quick cook and a thorough puree and we had a light, but really flavourful soup. Finish it off with a little mint and lemon rind (also a leftover!).
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- 2 cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups asparagus stems, very woody ends discarded
- 1 cup pea pods
- 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk
- 2 Tbl raw cashews (optional, they add a little richness, but could be omitted)
- Salt and White pepper for seasoning
- Fresh Mint, 3-4 leaves per serving, chopped finely (around 3 sprigs total)
- Lemon Zest, very finely grated, from about 1 medium lemon total (1 tsp or so total, ¼ tsp per serving)
- Combine the vegetable broth and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil.
- Add the asparagus stems and pea pods. Cook until thoroughly, until well softened, 8-10 minutes
- Carefully transfer the stems and pods to a blender along with enough cooking liquid to cover. Cover the blender top with a tea towel (to protect against escaping steam), and pulse a half dozen times or so. This will help get the steam out so you can blend safely. Puree on high speed until everything is thoroughly pureed. This will take an easy 2 minutes in a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, or 4-6 minutes in a conventional blender.
- Strain the soup to catch any other fibers.
- Rinse out the blender and add the soup back, along with the raw cashews. Blend until smooth.
- Return to a clean pot and add any remaining cooking broth and the non-dairy milk.
- Season to taste.
- Top each serving with a little mint and grated lemon zest.