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Creamy Asparagus Soup Recipe

November 16, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Cream of asparagus soup is one of my favorite cool weather comfort foods. However, I make it in a slightly different way than most. You can’t tell by its appearance and maybe even the taste, but my version of this delicacy is completely dairy free. You might guess that I replace the cream or whole milk with soy milk. Wrong. Instead, I use the taste and texture of raw cashews to mimic the richness of cream while, at the same time, improving the overall nutritional composition of the end product.

There are obvious and subtle differences to be found when comparing cashews to heavy cream. A half-cup serving of raw cashews rings in at about 360 calories. It provides approximately 10 grams of protein and 30 grams of primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Heavy cream yields roughly 410 calories per 4 ounces. The majority of the energy comes from saturated fat (44 grams). Other differences include higher levels of antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals in cashew nuts. (1,2,3,4,5)

One of the finest attributes of tree nuts such as cashews is that they’re capable of improving the nutritional composition of ones diet without causing weight gain – when eaten in moderation. A recent analysis by Louisiana State University determined that regular tree nut consumption led to significantly improvements in nutritional levels via increased intake of calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E. This same population showed a tendency of consuming less sodium on a daily basis. And, while eating nuts often results in a slightly higher caloric intake, this gain in calories is not associated with weight gain. In fact, some research demonstrates that including nuts in ones diet helps to reduce the risk of long-term weight gain. (6,7,8)

Healthy Fellow Cream of Asparagus Soup
32 oz organic vegetable broth
12 oz organic asparagus spears
1/2 cup organic, raw cashews
2 Tbs organic, extra virgin olive oil
2 large organic shallots
organic black pepper to taste
NutraSalt or salt to taste

Nutritional Content: Calories: 130. Protein: 3 grams. Fat: 10 grams. Fiber: 2 grams. “Net” Carbohydrates: 6 grams.

Pour the olive oil into a large soup pot on low-medium heat. Dice the shallots and soften in the hot oil. Rough chop the asparagus spears and add to the pot. Season liberally with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the shallots from burning. Stir in the vegetable broth and cover the pot. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cashew nuts. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup into a creamy consistency. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Tree Nut Consumption May Prevent Weight Gain
Source: Am J Clin Nutr 89: 1643S-1648S, 2009 (link)

I personally consume a variety of dairy products in my own diet. However some people don’t tolerate them or object for philosophical reasons. That’s why I always like to have alternatives on hand when guests come to visit. But there’s yet another reason why I occasionally omit a familiar food from my own diet: to encourage nutritional diversity. It’s much easier to be exposed to milk-based products than cashews. What’s more, eating the same foods over and over again doesn’t afford you the opportunity to enjoy a broad spectrum of naturally occurring minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins. In short, mixing it up in the kitchen helps you to cover your bases on the nutritional front as well.

You may have noticed that I didn’t spend any time in today’s column on the star ingredient of the recipe: asparagus. I recently wrote a column that focused on the health promoting potential of Asparagus officinalis, so I decided not to retread previous material. However I will say that I primarily chose to use this low-glycemic, non-starchy vegetable because it packs an impressive nutritional punch. A 12 ounce bag of asparagus spears yields less than 90 calories while contributing a considerable amount of dietary fiber, potassium, protein and Vitamin C. This an excellent example of how you can add plenty of healthy vegetables to any nutritional program, including low carbohydrate diets.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!

JP

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9 Comments & Updates to “Creamy Asparagus Soup Recipe”

  1. Dr. Kenton Lawson Says:

    Asparagus is delicious! And very good for you too. I’ve never had a soup based on it though so I think it may be something I will have to try.

    I don’t seem to have issue with dairy, but I may try the cashew option anyways. I think that it might be really tasty, and I agree the nutritional profile will be way better. How did you come up with using cashews?? How does the preparation work? Sorry for all of the questions I am just interested.

  2. JP Says:

    Good day, Dr. Lawson.

    I agree! We love asparagus. Do try it out sometime. I think you’ll enjoy it!

    I was exposed to the concept of using cashews instead of dairy many years ago via a vegan friend. There’s nobody as resourceful as a devout vegetarian!

    The preparation couldn’t be simpler. You simply add the raw cashews to the soup pot at the end of the cooking process. Allow the nuts to soften for a minute or two. Then blend them (and the other solid ingredients) into a smooth consistency by using an immersion or “stick” blender. If you don’t already have one of these gadgets, get one! It’s probably my favorite kitchen appliance. Very versatile and so easy to clean.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. Jimmy Says:

    Thankyou for this great recipe. I like asparagus but I have never thought of putting it into a soup. I am going to break out my blender and make this tonight. Yum!

  4. JP Says:

    I hope you enjoy it, Jimmy!

    Be well!

    JP

  5. stella Says:

    this sound so delicious! will certainly try :)

  6. JP Says:

    Thank you, Stella!

    Be well!

    JP

  7. Nina K. Says:

    Good morning, JP :-)

    delicious recipe! i made it in a similar way, use almondbutter or white fresh roasted almonds also good, and i add a little bit of bear’s garlic pesto (or do you call it ramsons?) very good :-)

    Try the same with broccoli, also very very tasty!

    Be well and greetings from the faaaar side,
    Nina K.

  8. JP Says:

    Thank you, Nina. :)

    I’ll bet the “cream” of broccoli soup is delicious too! Will try to make it soon!

    Be well!

    JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 02/08/17:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28071026

    Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment. 2016 Jul-Sep;15(3):267-279.

    Antiradical capacity and polyphenol composition of asparagus spears varieties cultivated under different sunlight conditions.

    BACKGROUND: Asparagus officinalis has a high nutritional value. Asparagus is rich in a number of bioactive compounds, mainly flavonoids (quercetin), glutathione, vitamin C, vitamin E, fructans (inulin and fructooligosaccharides) and phytosterols (b-sitosterol). These compounds may play an important role in human health. The purpose of this study was to examine the antioxidant potential and polyphenol composition of white, pale-colored and green asparagus spears of different cultivars.

    METHODS: Investigations were conducted on different asparagus spear extracts. The study included three colors of asparagus (white, pale-colored and green) from five different cultivars subjected to the ethanol extraction procedure. Total phenolic content was also determined by the Folin-Ciocalteu method. Polyphenol (phenolic acids and flavonols) composition was estimated using the HPLC method. The antioxidant properties of extracts were examined using DPPH, ABTS and metal ion chelating assays.

    RESULTS: The highest contents of phenolic and flavonoids were observed in green asparagus from Grolim and the lowest in pale-colored asparagus from Gyjmlin. It was found that both the color of asparagus and the cultivar had a significant effect on the composition of phenolic acid and flavonols. Radical scavenging activity toward DPPH• and ABTS was highest for green asparagus cv. Grolim and Eposs. The greatest number of Fe ions was chelated by samples of green asparagus cv. Grolim and Huchel’s Alpha and pale-colored asparagus cv. Huchel’s Alpha.

    CONCLUSIONS: It was shown that the antioxidant activity of asparagus spears measured by antiradical and chelating activity test depends on variety and color. The highest activity was found in green asparagus and the lowest was identified in white asparagus extracts. It has also been clarified that changes in flavonol and phenolic acid composition and increases in their diversity depends on growing with sunlight and variety. Asparagus can provide a valuable source of phenolic compounds in the human diet.

    Be well!

    JP

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