April 21, 2012

Asparagus Soup

Happy Spring!! I hope that everyone is enjoying the warmer weather, the greenery, and some fresh spring produce! I really enjoy springtime- seeing everything come back to life, flowers and greenery popping up all over the place, sunshine... the end of winter! Of course, I also enjoy the fresh produce that seems to appear overnight at the grocery store... one of my favorites being asparagus.

I typically enjoy grilled or roasted asparagus... but, for Easter, (I know, this is a pretty belated recipe share), I tried something a little different, and made some delicious asparagus soup. I didn't follow the recipe completely, (no big shock there)... I kept it simple and easily portable by making only the soup, choosing to omit the croutons completely- a decision that I don't regret in the least. Everyone loved the soup, and I will definitely be making it again and again! Delicious, creamy (without any added fat or cream!), and simple- it would be an awesome starter or make a great light meal when paired with a little salad and some crusty bread. Gotta love Cooking Light!!

Asparagus Soup with Cheese Croutons
Yield: 8 servings

1 14oz can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
8 1/2oz slices French bread
Cooking spray
1/4 cup (1oz) shredded Gouda cheese
1/4 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground green peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place chicken broth and asparagus in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cook 8 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Remove from heat.
Heat butter and olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms to pan; cook 3 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Set aside.
Preheat broiler.
Place bread on a baking sheet covered with foil; coat bread with cooking spray. Broil 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn bread over, and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese bubbles.
Pour asparagus mixture into a blender. Add rice, peppercorns, and salt; puree until smooth. Ladle 1/2 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top evenly with mushrooms. Top each serving with 1 crouton.

Calories: 86; Fat: 2.6g, Sat. Fat: 1.2g, Monounsaturated fat: 0.9g, Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g; Protein 4.3g; Carbohydrate: 11.9g; Fiber: 1.9g

*Notes on this recipe: As I mentioned above, I did not make the croutons... and I didn't miss them. The shiitake mushrooms were special in this soup- I would definitely not suggest substituting or omitting them. I do not have green peppercorns in my arsenal, so I used freshly ground black pepper to taste.

I highly recommend this soup to anyone who enjoys asparagus- its an easy and delicious way to enjoy a little bit of spring!

You can find the original recipe here at CookingLight.com. 

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