Thursday, March 13, 2014

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Cashew Dill Cream (dairy-free)


Spring is in the air…well at least for us on the west coast. I've been making some variation of this very simple dairy-free asparagus soup that I think you're going to love. The raw cashew-dill cream adds such a nice touch to the soup. It's optional though, in case you are allergic to cashews.

Did you know that asparagus is an excellent source of inulin? Inulin is a starch that we cannot digest. It passes undigested to the large intestine where our beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, break it down and use it for food. When we have thriving colonies of beneficial bacteria in our intestines we absorb nutrients at a much higher rate, we are protected from pathogenic organisms, our immune system response is balanced (meaning we don't react to food and environmental allergens as easily, like pollen and dust). Beneficial bacteria also produce vitamins (like B vitamins) and amino acids!

Asparagus also contains a significant amount of vitamin K1, a nutrient used for blood clotting. K1 can also get converted into K2 in the body, where it is then used in different protein structures to shuttle calcium around. Asparagus helps to increase beneficial organisms in the intestines that are also capable of converting K1 to K2. Although the conversion rate of K1 to K2 is small in the intestines, the form (MK-7) works at small concentrations. Vitamin K2 is a necessity for strong, healthy teeth and bones! You can also find K2 in hard cheeses, natto (a fermented soy product), pastured butter, egg yolks, liver, and beef.

Have any of you heard in the news that vitamin D and calcium supplementation is dangerous and can increase your risk for heart disease? Did you know that the risk for a heart attack is not because you are taking vitamin D or calcium…it's because the calcium is not being delivered where it needs to go and instead ends up being deposited in blood vessels contributing to calcification. If you have enough vitamin K2 circulating around then it is able to form proteins that facilitate calcium being deposited in the bones and simultaneously swept out of the vessels. 



Creamy Asparagus Soup with Cashew Dill Cream

This simple spring soup is nourishing and easy to make. Enjoy it as part of a balanced dinner or serve it as a light lunch. All of our children love this soup and any variation I make (sometimes I replace part of the asparagus with either cauliflower or broccoli). I use homemade chicken stock in most of my soups (or part stock and part water if I am running low). You could also use a good homemade vegetable stock if desired.

Soup:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small leeks, chopped
2 small shallots, chopped
2 bunches fresh asparagus (about 2 pounds), chopped
6 cups homemade chicken stock
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh parsley

Cashew-Dill Cream:
½ cup raw cashews (soaked for 2 to 3 hours)
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled
½ teaspoon sea salt
small handful fresh dill

Heat oil in a 4- or 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and shallots; sauté for a few minutes. Then add the asparagus, stock, salt, thyme, and pepper; cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and add the parsley. Use a stainless steel immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot, or transfer to a blender and puree in batches. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings if desired. Add more water or stock for a thinner soup.

To make the cashew cream, drain the cashews then place them into a high-powered blender along with the water, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Blend until ultra smooth and creamy. Add the fresh dill and blend again to incorporate.

Serve soup with dollops of the cashew cream in each bowl.

Yield: 8 servings


More Nourishing Dairy-Free Soup Recipes:


Subscribe to this Blog via Email

20 comments:

  1. Asparagus, Dill and Cashews...I'm intrigued! I love these types of asparagus recipes btw - when my asparagus comes up in the spring there's generally only a few spears at a time. Not much for making a full meal out of on their own but perfect for soups and risottos.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This has to be the perfect dish to kick off the spring season. I love dill!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The soup looks lovely.

    I find that the more I read about nutrition, the more complicated it becomes. I decided that being vegetarian was not healthy for me after having two children, so then I added in some poultry, seafood and some red meat. Then I start hearing about how terrible red meat is again. Grains are bad, but wait, maybe only the ones that contain gluten. And once I had the art of gluten free baking down and I was coming around to that idea, I learned that all those starches aren't good for me or perhaps it's an issue of gluten cross contamination. Properly prepared egumes? Good grief. If you read one study they're great, another? They're not. Now it's the vitamins that we're taking to fill the void of supplementation. I suspect that all of this means that we should get away from our computers and go drink (ahem) coconut kefir on the beach, soak up our Vitamin D from the sun and relax. Hooray for spring!



    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh Jennifer…..I can only imagine how everyone feels right about now regarding nutrition. There is so much contradictory info out there. It doesn't feel that confusing to us. We have a new website coming soon that will cover everything you just mentioned and much more so the general public can feel more confidant and less confused about nutrition and health. We supplement with Vitamin D in the winter but use a D -K2 drop from Thorne Research: http://thorne.com/Products/Cardiovascular-Support/Circulatory_Health/prd~KD500.jsp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ali,
      I own ur books and follow u on FB/Instagram. I have learned so much from you, but I too remain confused, mainly due to the conflict of plant based/ vegan and paleo diets. I would love to see ur new website to help me with all of this!

      Delete
  5. I am just wondering here. I have a huge bag of Asparagus stalks that I cut from the bottom of my Asparagus before roasting. So they are the woodier part of the stalk. Do you think they would good for this soup, or do I want to use the softer stalk and spear portion? I so just pinned this recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps use them for 'seasoning' the broth or water before the actual soup preparation. I also juice the scraps and find it tastes alright in a tomato or pineapple, apple base juice.

      Delete
    2. Hi Cheryl- no you don't want to use the woody ends in soup. I usually compost those parts.

      Delete
  6. This soup was good. I made a 1/2 recipe. I omitted the Cashew Dill Cream and added 3 large cremini mushrooms that I needed to use up to the soup recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, mushrooms sound like a great addition! Thanks for the feedback Beth!

      Delete
  7. We made this as a half recipe because there are only 2 adults and 1 baby in our house but it disappeared so quickly that I WILL be making it again soon as a full recipe!! It was absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing it and the wonderful nutritional information as well. I loved knowing all of that information about Vit K as my family was enjoying it.
    On another note, we have been enjoying your book Nourishing Meals for about 2 weeks now and I can honestly say that every single recipe we have tried has been insanely good! I am so excited for your other book to come out too. We've got it pre-ordered and are highly impatient for it at this point. ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Melinda for your feedback! Glad you are enjoying the book too. :)

      Delete
  8. Holy Asparagus soup! This was awesome! I can't believe the depth of flavor that it had without using any dairy at all (specifically butter). We ate it without the cashew cream (I forgot to soak the cashews) and my two-year-old licked her bowl clean. Of course, using my homemade stock was part of the key!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! If you own a high-powered blender you really don't need to soak the cashews…you may just need to add a couple extra tablespoons of water though when blending.

      Delete
  9. Made this for supper and it was delicious! My 19 month old loved it! Couldn't convince the 4 year old (we're in a 'food colour' phase at the mo)! Will make this again for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah! 4 year olds do go through phases that's for sure! For a whole year my daughter refused to eat all beans (that was when she was 4 I think). We just kept offering them and she finally grew out of it. :)

      Delete
  10. The addition of Cashew dill cream sounds wonderful! What a great recipe to kick off Spring.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My 8 year old son who normally survives on a diet of rice and ketchup (yuck!) ate three bowls of this! He loved the cashew sauce (I added extra garlic).

    ReplyDelete
  12. The cashew cream sauce was so delicious. I still have some in the fridge and every now and then take a little spoonful just to puta hop in my step. We tried to make the soup just like your picture with the two spears of asparagus on top and those two bites turned out to be my favorite part. When we make it again, I plan on sautéing extra asparagus to add to the soup after I purée it. Thanks so much for making your blog so informative and helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Is there a particular stainless steel hand blender you recommend?

    ReplyDelete

.
.
Thanks for stopping by The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. We appreciate and value your feedback.

If you have a question about a particular recipe please leave your comment under that post. I will answer substitution questions as best as I can. Though if you alter a recipe, your feedback will help other readers who may have similar questions.

If you have a question on a particular product I use in my recipes, then please view the Links to Products We Use post for more information.

Comment moderation is in place. Your comment will be visible once we publish it.

Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom