Asparagus Pesto Soup
I was searching for recipes to use the abundance of basil in my garden. I thought the pesto might enhance the flavor of one of my favorite soups, Asparagus Soup, without having a strong basil taste. Asparagus are somewhat delicate in flavor and found that the addition of pesto was totally delicious. As asparagus can be pricy, to save on the cost, I used a combination of fresh and canned asparagus. You can also use frozen. To keep the soup vegan, I added almond milk, for a creamier flavor, try heavy cream or half half. I purée the soup to a velvety consistency, the perfect texture The soup freezes well and I always make more and freeze in quart size freezer bags for a future meal. Wow! So good. Recipe is below.
Asparagus Pesto Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery with leaves
2 cups green, such as spinach, radish greens, kale, collard greens, etc., that are able to be cooked
1 large garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine, optional
1 pound fresh asparagus, fibrous ends snapped or cut off
6 cups broth of choice or 5 cups broth and 1 cup liquid from canned asparagus
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only or 1 teaspoon dried
3 sprigs fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons pesto
3 14.5 ounce (411 grams) canned asparagus, whole or cut, drained, liquid reserved.
1/2 cup milk of choice, added after soup is puréed.
Add oil to a large, heavy soup pot. Warm over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until onion is softened, about
4 minutes. Stir in celery and greens. Heat for about 1 minute and then add garlic. Stir.
Add wine. Stir.
Cut or snap off fibers asparagus ends o fresh asparagus. Cut spears in half or quarters and add to soup.
Add broth or broth and canned asparagus liquid. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, thyme, dill and pesto. Place lid on pot and simmer for about 30 minutes until
vegetables (especially celery and asparagus) are tender.
Add canned asparagus. Stir in.
Remove from stove and let cool a bit. Purée soup in a blender or with immerser until velvety smooth.
Stir in milk of choice.
Creamier: Substitute 1/2 cup of heavy cream or half and half for milk
Cheesy: 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese sprinkled on top of each bowl served
Vegan/dairy free: Use a dairy free nut or seed milk. Almond milk is my go-to milk.
Allium free: Substitute a half bulb of fennel for the onion and 1-2 large radishes for the garlic. Sauté as in recipe.
This is a dairy free/vegan pesto recipe. I have noted where you can add Parmesan cheese, if you prefer, as most recipes do. I like to keep it vegan and then add the Parmesan if I want. I freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. After frozen. place in a freezer zip lock bag and use as needed. The amount you need depends on the size of the ice cube trays—some are small and would measure 1/2 teaspoon. Other trays would have 1 tablespoon amount. Measure the first ice cube tray you fill so you will know the amount to use in a recipe. Keeps in the freezer for 8-10 months.
Pesto is traditionally made with piñolis or pine nuts. You can easily substitute pecans or walnuts for them or mix some piñolis in. You save quite a bit of money, as they can be a bit pricey and the taste is remarkable the same.
What is pesto good with? Let us count the ways!!!
Any pasta, spaghetti squash, hearty soup such as minestrone, tomato or mushroom sandwich melts, thin with olive oil and lemon juice for a salad dressing, spread on chicken or beef before grilling or baking, frittatas, crusty bread heated under broiler. Add to burgers when making or grilling, grilled tofu, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, spread on pizza crust before adding rest of ingredients and many soups!
½ cup pecans, walnuts or piñolis
2 large cloves garlic, peeled (see tip below)
2 cups fresh basil
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, optional
(½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated, optional—leave out for vegan)
Add pecans, garlic, basil, salt and pepper to food processor.
Drizzle olive oil into a food processor while the ingredients are processed.
If you are using Parmesan cheese, add here. To keep the recipe vegan, omit the Parmesan.
Add fresh lemon juice.
The pesto can be refrigerated for up to a week and can be frozen for 2 months. Use ice cube trays for easy defrosting later. Drizzle a little olive oil on top before freezing to prevent discoloring.
Tip: Two large garlic cloves are needed. Removing the skin is simplified when you press down on the garlic with the flat side of a knife. The skin peels off and the garlic is ready to use!
Vegan: Omit Parmesan cheese.
This is a book with a lot of food in it, wonderful for a foodie like me! Interspersed with the food is a murder, addiction and relationship crises. I asked author Leslie Hooton if food was a unified in After Everyone Else. She responded, “Not only do I think food is a unifier, it can create both funny and touching scenes. That is why food appears in so many great books; it is also the source of memory. And I love writing about memory.”
In the exciting opening paragraphs of the novel, main character Bailey Edgeworth, restaurant designer, is arrested for murdering her ex-husband. Her DNA is all over his apartment and they argued before his death. Want to know who is guilty? You have to read almost to the end of the novel to find out!!