Spring has started to pop here in Portland and with the sunshine has come a hankering for fresh spring vegetables and fruits. One of my favorites is asparagus. I love it cooked all different ways and can’t wait to put it back into regular rotation in my food repertoire. Not only do I love it’s taste but asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Asparagus is an excellent source of glutathione, a detoxifying anti-oxidant that is a liver protecting powerhouse, helping break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, asparagus is a robust fighter against bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, ovarian and other cancers. Inulin, a carbohydrate in asparagus, encourages the growth of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, two bacteria that boost nutrient absorption, lower the risk of allergy and colon cancer, and help prevent unfriendly bacteria from taking hold in our intestinal tract. This fiber is an amazing prebiotic to feed all the good bacteria in our guts. Furthermore, one cup of asparagus contains over 11% of the RDA of dietary fiber and almost 10% of the RDA of protein.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy asparagus is in this creamy, vegan cashew cream soup.
- 1 tbs of olive oil
- 2 sliced leeks
- 1 cup of sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 bunch of chopped fresh asparagus
- 4 cups of veggie broth
- 2 tbs of fresh tarragon
- 1 tsp of cumin (I added more because I am a huge fan of cumin.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of soaked, unsalted cashews
- 2/3 cups of water
- juice of 1/2 lemon (or more to taste)
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add the leeks, mushrooms and asparagus.
- Cook about 4 minutes.
- Add the broth, tarragon, cumin and salt and pepper.
- Simmer about 20 minutes and then puree. (I used an immersion blender.)
- In a food processor or Vitamix, mix together cashews and water until smooth.
- Stir mixture and lemon juice into the soup.
- Return to full temperature and then enjoy.