Thursday, March 10, 2011

Asparagus and Pea Soup: Real Convenience Food

Trying to lose some baby weight? Want to improve your health by eating more veggies? Pregnant and bone tired? Overwhelmed by the office? Stressed by staying at home with your kids? I bet we all have more in common than we think.

For instance, don't we all feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done? I'm here to tell you that - no matter how busy and tired you are - you can find time to cook real, wholesome food for your family and for yourself.

Shortcuts help. Here's one that I often rely on: cooking with good quality, prepared ingredients. Now if you have visions/nightmares of Sandra Lee and her Semi-Home Cooking empire...don't. I'm not talking about putting food coloring and Cool Whip in everything you consume.

Instead, I utilize things like organic broth and frozen veggies to create quick, healthful, easy, and quick (did I say that before?) meals, like this soup. Enjoy a bowl of it for dinner, pour it over pasta for little kids that aren't great with spoons yet, or bring it to work in a Thermos. It's versatile and satisfying. 
This soup is also chock full of nutrition. Asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse for all of us, but especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is an excellent source of the birth-defect-fighting folate and is rich in Vitamin C. Peas are high in protein, iron and fiber. Both asparagus and peas are great sources of Vitamin K, necessary for proper blood clotting. In rare cases, newborns may be deficient; increasing your K intake can raise the levels in your breast milk.

Ingredients:
  • 1T EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 onion
  • a couple of garlic cloves
  • bag of frozen organic asparagus (preferably thawed)
  • 2-3c of frozen organic peas
  • box of organic, low-sodium vegetable broth
  • dried red pepper flakes (optional)
Chop the garlic and onions; don't worry about making them tiny or perfect - they're going to get pureed, anyway. And make sure you use fresh onions and garlic, which provide lots of nutritional benefits and much better flavor than powders.
Sautee the onions in the EVOO, adding the garlic after a couple of minutes; cook until the onions are translucent. Add the whole bag of asparagus and cover everything with the broth. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. 
Simmer until the asparagus is bright green and tender (if you've thawed the asparagus it will only take a couple of minutes). Turn off the heat and puree using an immersion blender. Asparagus is quite fibrous, so be patient and blend until smooth.
Add peas (the heat of the soup will quickly thaw them) and puree until smooth; add more until it reaches the thickness you like. I usually add closer to two to two-and-a-half cups, but do more if that's what you prefer.
Top with chives and a small dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream or greek yogurt. Big croutons would be great, as well.
Take a few extra moments to garnish the soup and make it seem like a decadent treat.
Can you taste the delicious green-ness of this??
Note: Asparagus has diuretic properties, which is great for reducing water retention and bloat. But if you're pregnant and already peeing constantly, make sure to have this soup early in the day; if you have it for dinner, you may have to make extra bathroom trips during the night. You need all the sleep you can get!

20 comments:

  1. Love asparagus tips and also love frozen peas, asparagus not so much but in a soup I'm willing to try.

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  2. you could always just use the tips for the soup...but the stalks prob won't bother you once they're pureed!

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  3. I really enjoyed this soup when I had it last week! I could've finished off the whole pot, probably!

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  4. Thanks, Nancy. I've been polishing off pretty big quantities of it myself!

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  5. I've made asparagus and pea soups, but NEVER thought to combine the two. Genius!

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  6. Hi Justine - I want to make this soup but i don't know what evoo is - (or i do but i don't know that i do). will you explain?? thanks!!

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  7. duh. just realized it's extra virgin olive oil. sorry!!

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  8. Sorry, Emily, i promise to be more conscious of using shorthand on the blog! Let me know how your soup turns out :-)

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  9. I made this soup tonight and it is awesome!! I really was surprised how much flavor came out of a small number of ingredients. I substituted leeks for onions but otherwise kept to the recipe. It took me 20 minutes from start to finish (and I'm slow in the kitchen) and my son even said it was yummy!!

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  10. Emily - So glad you found it both easy and yummy! I love the substitution of leeks for onions - will have to try that next time.

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  11. I made this tonight and it was so EASY and yummy! J and I both ate two bowls with toasted multigrain bread from TJs and there was still some left over. I threw in some pasta and the rest of the peas to make a meal for the baby! :-) I will definitely make this again!

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  12. I'm so glad your whole family enjoyed it! Thanks for trying it :-)

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  13. Although I am not a 'Full Belly Sister', I am a graduate student with a VERY busy.  My schedule causes me to order out and even miss meals. This recipe is quick, easy, and OH SO GOOD! I already had all the ingredients and it was super easy.  Full of nutrients, and I had more energy after I ate this soup than I usually have after I order out.  I'm making it for my friends!
      

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  14. Wow, what a great compliment! Thanks so much for taking the time to post a review :-)

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  15. fullbellysistersMarch 9, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Also shared at Amee's Savory Dish linky: http://www.ameessavorydish.com/2012/03/fit-and-fabulous-fridays-22.html

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  16. Just saw this on Amee's Savory Dish, looks great!

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  17. YUM!  That's a healthy bowl of deliciousness!!!  Thanks for sharing ladies!!  Always a pleasure to have you at Fit and Fabulous Fridays!

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  18. Thanks for having us :-)

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