Asparagus, Arugula & Avocado Soup

Here is another asparagus recipe – a great soup for spring.  I love arugula and avocado and eat them in salads all the time.  But this was the first time I put them in a soup alongside my favorite vegetable – asparagus.  I was impressed by the fresh taste of this soup and decided to share it with you.

Arugula is a very flavorful, pungent leafy green.  It’s a rich source of phytochemicals, which combat cancer-causing agents in the body.  Arugula is also a great source of folic acid, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as an array of minerals such as iron and copper.

Avocado is actually a fruit.  It is an excellent source of potassium and rich in vitamins B, E, and K.  Avocados also contain monounsaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid.  This “good fat” reduces levels of bad cholesterol and may lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. 

I hope you’re not intimidated by the bright green color of this soup and are adventurous enough to give it a try.  This soup gets its creamy texture from the avocado and a slight peppery taste from the arugula.  The recipe is from the Small Plates & Sweet Treats cookbook. 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
1 shallot (or small onion), minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. green asparagus (bottoms trimmed and stalks diced)
¾ tsp salt
3 cups stock/broth
2 cups arugula, loosely packed
1 avocado, cubed

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the shallot, garlic, asparagus, and ¼ tsp salt.
Cook the vegetables about 5 minutes or until tender, but not browned.
Add the stock.
Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer 5 -10 minutes or
until the asparagus is tender.
Add the arugula and cook for 1 additional minute.
Remove the pot from heat.  Add the diced avocado and remaining ½ tsp salt.
Puree the soup in a blender until smooth.  Adjust seasoning as needed.

Potato Crust Asparagus Quiche

It’s Friday and I am already looking forward to the weekend.  I treasure the time our family can spend together with the rush of the week behind us.  Saturday mornings are my favorite. It’s a chance for us to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, linger over a cup of coffee and discuss plans for the day.  After all, Saturday is our day to rest and recharge.

It’s the one day I actually don’t mind getting up early.  The boys, sleepy-eyed, in their pajamas, waddle into our bedroom.  They are so excited to have “papa” home that the plan for him to catch up on sleep just doesn’t happen.

The morning sun beams through our large window as I make my way to the kitchen.  I turn on my favorite radio station and make a green smoothie or a fresh fruit snack to hold the boys over, while I prepare breakfast.  More time for a morning meal means I can make something special.

Last weekend, a potato crust quiche I made was a big hit!  To save time, I actually made the crust the night before and kept refrigerated.  In the morning I made the filling and baked the quiche.

You can make the quiche with any vegetable you’d like.  I have included a recipe that calls for asparagus as I think it pairs well with eggs.  This is also a great way to use up any leftover roasted asparagus.

Crust

3 medium potatoes (shredded and frozen)

Favorite herbs and spices (garlic powder, dry dill, rosemary, etc.)

Salt and pepper

Butter (for greasing)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Thaw the previously frozen shredded potatoes.  Mix with a few dashes of herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
  3. Grease a pie pan; press the potato mixture into the pan and up the sides like a pie crust.
  4. Bake until slightly brown and crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool slightly.

Filling

1 bunch asparagus (cut into 1-2 inch pieces)

1 onion (sliced)

2 garlic cloves (minced)

1 tablespoon butter

5 eggs

1 cup milk or half & half

½ cup cheese (shredded, I recommend Gruyere)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Sauté onion and garlic until tender but not brown. 
  2. Add the asparagus, sauté until tender but not limp (skip this step if using previously cooked asparagus).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Fill the potato crust with the onions and asparagus.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the filling; make sure to spread it evenly. 
  6. Bake at 400F, 30-40 minutes or until the eggs set. 
  7. Let the quiche cool for about 15 minutes before cutting.

 

Have a blessed weekend!!!

Roasted Asparagus

The abundance of these tall slender stalks at the local market is a sure sign of the imminent spring, even if there’s still snow on the ground. Asparagus is available year-round, however, spring is the best time to enjoy fresh asparagus. 

It’s hard to believe there was a time I would pass this vegetable up because I didn’t know how to cook it and was afraid to try.  That all changed when, years ago, I found a very easy recipe from Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living, which proved to be an all-time favorite! Now, we frequently enjoy this delicious vegetable.  Green asparagus spears range from pencil thin to almost an inch thick.  I personally like the average, slightly thicker ones as I find they taste sweeter, don’t easily overcook and are not as woody and tough as the very thick ones.

Asparagus is loaded with nutrients.  It is an excellent source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, K and trace minerals copper, zinc, selenium, chromium to name a few.  As well as anti-oxidants which help slow the aging process and protect against certain forms of cancer.  It also contains high levels of asparagine, an amino acid that is a natural diuretic, which helps the body release excess fluid and salt. To retain most of these nutrients, asparagus should ideally be slightly crisp, not soggy or overcooked. 

Ingredients

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1 bunch of fresh asparagus (about 1 lb.)

Olive oil, enough to nicely coat the asparagus

1 clove garlic, crushed or thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

Lemon wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash the asparagus and remove the tough ends, but do not peel.
  3. Mix the olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add the raw asparagus and marinate for about 2 hours.
  4. Pour the asparagus and its marinade onto a sheet pan large enough to hold all the asparagus in one layer.
  5. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until asparagus is tender. 
  6. Squeeze lemon juice over asparagus before serving.