I Love Asparagus!
Asparagus is the quintessential spring vegetable. I know that spring has really come to Aiken when I see bunches of local asparagus in the grocery stores. I prefer to buy the young stalks that are less than 1/2 inch in diameter, if possible, so that I can eat the whole stalk and not waste a bit of the yummy goodness. When it is thicker, the woody ends need to be cut off and sometimes peeled before cooking so that it is not too stringy and tough. There are 20 edible varieties of asparagus, including white and purple, besides the most common green.
George Mateljan, who I have mentioned in previous posts as the author of The World’s Healthiest Foods and the website www.whfoods.org, rates asparagus as the fourth most nutrient-rich vegetable, behind spinach, chard and crimini mushrooms. It has 114% of the daily value of vitamin K, which is an essential nutrient for bone health. It is also an excellent source of folate, vitamins C and A, and the carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein. As a source of inulin and other dietary fiber, asparagus promotes gut health by “feeding” the beneficial bacteria in our intestines. It also supplies plenty of the B vitamins, and the minerals manganese, copper, potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium that we need for heart health and overall energy.
Asparagus tastes great!
For the freshest, most nutritious asparagus possible, why not pick up a bunch from your local farmers market this week?
There are many ways to cook and enjoy this vegetable, but one of my favorites is this creamy, asparagus soup. Add a green salad to this for a tasty and healthy light lunch or dinner.
Creamy Asparagus and Cauliflower Soup
• ½ head cauliflower
• 1 lb. asparagus, washed
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
• 3 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
• Celtic sea salt and black pepper to taste
• 2 tsp. minced garlic
• ½ tsp. dried rosemary, or 1 Tbl. fresh, chopped
• ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
In a soup pot simmer onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are very soft and golden, stirring often. Add broth and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into small pieces. Trim asparagus tips and reserve. Remove woody ends from asparagus and discard. Cut remaining spears into 1 in. pieces. Add cauliflower, asparagus, and rosemary to broth, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Use immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add coconut milk. Stir in reserved asparagus tips, season with salt and pepper and cook 2-3 more minutes. Serves 4-6.