Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Creamy Asparagus & Cauliflower Soup with Hold the Bacon

It's hard to make a plain old vegetable soup with a well-stocked fridge. You want to make a light, healthy, restorative soup, but as you reach in the fridge for the vegetables, your hand has to pass things like butter, cheese, and crème fraiche; not to mention dealing with bacon’s sweet, smoky, siren song.

But this time, I resisted all temptations and somehow managed to keep this fairly pure. I don’t expect you to show the same restraint. However, if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious bowl of soup that despite being dairy-free, looks and feels pretty creamy. We have cauliflower to thank for that.

The soup looks like a classic cream of asparagus, and your eyes will fool your palate to a certain extent. In addition to giving it a nice color, the bumpy superfood also provides a smoother texture to the soup than the less starchy asparagus could achieve alone.

Speaking of nice color, try to get your hands on some nasturtiums. They are quite safe to eat...I’ve heard from several people...and have a very subtle watercress-like flavor. They’re not fried bacon, but what is? Anyway, whether you choose to accessorize this soup or not, I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 8 cups of soup:
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 chopped cloves garlic (you can also add diced onions, leeks, shallots, etc at this point as well)
*6 cups chicken broth, or water for you vegetarians
1 head cauliflower cut into small florets (about 1 3/4 lb)
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste 
nasturtium petals for garnish
*use more or less broth to adjust soup to your desired thickness.


Jaz said...

Thanks so much for posting a vegetarian recipe (if made with veggie stock)
I've used avocado before to add some creaminess to asparagus soup, but the cauliflower looks amazing!
I can't wait to try it. I love watching all your recipes, thanks so much for posting them.

Unknown said...

Though I'm always an angel if I were be a little evil & add some heavy cream, because you have trained me well. What would be a good starting amount of cream?

Angela said...

Way to go, Chef John! Absolutely beautiful

Jackie Reynolds said...

First of all, thanks for putting the weights for the pertinent ingredients. As we all know, vegetables come in many different sizes. This looks amazing and I will definitely give it a go.
Secondly, I feel compelled to mention that I grew up eating nasturtiums from my mom's flower garden. I do like the leaves in a salad or plain--very spicy and yummy.

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Greetings Chef! I do happens to likes asparagus and I also do happens to likes cauliflower so I'll be sure to cook up 'dis here soup sometime. Howevers' my finicky lady-friend claims 'dat any 'feller puttin' flower petals into their soup should have their manhood card automatically revoked. Dat' is unless they happen to be a bonafide chef of course. So it goes wid'out me a sayin' 'dat I'll be garnishing my soup wit' sum' minced fire roasted bell pepper from out of a jar. Thanks! You're da' best!

Geoffrey Aloysious Vanderbilt said...

Chef John,

Do you think vegetable broth/stock make an appropriate substitute for the chicken broth? Asking for a vegetarian.

dandelion said...

this soup sounds delicious I'll be trying it very soon. I have a question for you though. My local CSA has begun and I find myself with several heads of Kale. I have run out of ideas. Got any new ones?


Roberto said...

I made this last night and although it was certainly good, it isn't all that great and it didn't make my "favorite" list. The overall impression was "It's a waste of good asparagus". In other words, I think I'll stick with my old cauliflower/broccoli recipe for soup like this and steamed asparagus finished in butter as the best way to handle fresh asparagus.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the healthy recipe Chef John!

I do have a question that applies to a lot of your videos. When you use chicken stock/broth, do you use the full sodium, reduced sodium (which is like 25% less salt than the good stuff), or low sodium (which I only find at TJ's or the organic brand 'Pacific')? I really like Pacific/Trader Joe's low sodium broth only for the benefit of adding the salt until I feel it hits that 'therrrrre it is' seasoning finale at the terminus of my cooking. Am I missing something by adding fully loaded sodium broth earlier in the recipe?

Chef John said...

I use all sorts, but usually low-sodium. Makes no difference as long as you adjust the salt. Just don't use salted if you are going to reduce!

Syn said...

Since asparagus isn't readily available around here I was wondering if this would work just as well with green peas? Like the frozen variety.

Unknown said...

Surprisingly flavorful for so few ingredients. Added some shallots and scotch bonnet to mine. Thanks Chef :)

Unknown said...

I made this soup tonight,OMG it tasted AMAZING!!!! Thank u so much for this healthy version creamy soup recipeXDDD it's wonderful!

MEGB and LGJ Playground said...

How long do you blend it? I don't seem to be able to blend it as smooth as yours

Unknown said...

This recipe was my first of yours that I've watched. I appreciate your practical pointers (i.e. garnish for soup should never be longer than the spoon; cut asparagus at the first point that doesn't resist the knife, etc.) and I enjoy your sense of humour. Also, my son's allergic to dairy, egg, corn and wheat, so I appreciate this safe recipe. Thanks for the post!