Have you ever wondered what to do with asparagus ends? Wonder no more! Here’s how to turn those woody ends of asparagus into creamy, flavorful, asparagus ends soup.
WHAT TO DO WITH ASPARAGUS ENDS
This asparagus soup recipe was originally posted in May of 2011. We’ve updated the post with new photos, a video, and some additional tips. Here’s a peek at the original!
Every time I used to cook with asparagus, I would fret over those woody asparagus ends that I’ve always been taught are good for nothing but the compost pile.
While I can add them to my freezer bag of vegetable scraps to make stock, I felt like there had to be something more I could do with them to let the bright taste of asparagus still be featured.
That’s how I came up with this asparagus soup recipe using leftover asparagus ends.
ASPARAGUS ENDS SOUP SUPPLIES
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HOW TO TRIM ASPARAGUS
Trimming asparagus is actually quite simple.
- Hold an asparagus stalk with one hand gripping the woody end, and one hand gripping between the middle and the other end.
- Gently bend the asparagus until it snaps.
- You can continue trimming the rest of the asparagus this way, or use a knife to cut them all at once to about the same size as the first one you snapped.
- Save the woody asparagus ends in the freezer for making soup.
HOW TO MAKE ASPARAGUS ENDS SOUP
The reason asparagus ends are thought to be inedible, is that they are extremely tough and fibrous, like a freshly broken tree branch. You can gnaw on them, but you’re certainly not going to eat them.
But the asparagus ends still have great flavor. I haven’t been able to find any research on this, but I’m guessing they have nutritients as well. So it’s time to stop throwing them away!
BOIL THE ASPARAGUS ENDS
- Whether you’re using freshly trimmed asparagus ends, or frozen ones you’ve been saving for months, the first step is boiling them. You can do this in a large pot on the stove, or in a pressure cooker.
- Add water to about 1 inch above the level of the asparagus ends (they will float so just push them down to check the level).
- Simmer on the stove for 40 minutes, or cook in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes.
BLEND THE ASPARAGUS ENDS
- Your asparagus should be pretty soft now. Use an Immersion Blender to puree the asparagus ends as much as you possibly can.
- Then pour the puree through a mesh strainer with a big bowl or pot underneath to catch the stock.
- Use a spatula to stir and press the fibrous pulp until all the liquid has been squeezed out.
Once passed through a strainer, the inedible pulp discarded into the compost heap, a beautiful light and fresh asparagus stock is left behind. The asparagus flavor is strong, but it’s now a clean palette, ready to accept new flavors and textures.
MAKE YOUR ASPARAGUS SOUP CREAMY
- Start another pot, this time with a little avocado or coconut oil, some cloves of garlic and chopped potatoes and onions.
- Cook for about 10 minutes until they’re turning golden brown, gathering flavor.
- Add the asparagus broth and turned on the heat again.
- Simmer 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft enough to blend.
- Use your immersion blender again to puree the soup until completely smooth and creamy.
- Add fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to enhance the flavor of the asparagus.
- OPTIONAL – stir in some milk or cream for additional creaminess.
ASPARAGUS ENDS SOUP TOPPINGS
At this point, you soup is ready to eat. It would be a wonderful light soup for a soup course or side dish. And it’s perfect for Easter brunch!
If you want to serve the soup as a main dish, I suggest making it a bit more filling.
We like to add some roasted asparagus, pan crisped prosciutto, a sprinkling of fresh parmesan, and a bit of lemon zest.
In the comments below, someone added leftover rotisserie chicken, cooked asparagus, garlic and fresh mushrooms. Another reader substituted sweet potatoes for the red potatoes.
You can keep the soup dairy free and vegan, and just add in your favorite chopped vegetables, or some leftover beans or quinoa. I bet chickpeas would be great!
PIN TO SAVE ASPARAGUS ENDS SOUP FOR LATER:
- 40-60 asparagus ends
- 1 TBS avocado oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 medium red potatoes, chopped
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup cream
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan, optional
- 2 oz prosciutto, sliced and fried (optional)
- 12-18 roasted asparagus spears, optional
- lemon zest
- Place the asparagus ends in a large pot and fill with water to cover one inch above the asparagus.
- Bring to a boil and simmer 30-40 minutes until asparagus is very soft (it will still be quite fibrous though).
- Blend the asparagus and liquid it boiled in using an immersion blender (In a regular blender, you must blend in very small batches as hot liquids expand. Or let it cool first).
- Strain the pulp out, reserving the liquid.
- Heat the oil in the large pot and add the onion and potatoes. Heat on medium high, stirring for 10 minutes until there are some good golden brown marks on the vegetables.
- Add the reserved asparagus stock and simmer on medium low for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are very soft. Blend well.
- Add juice of the 1/2 lemon, cream and salt and pepper to taste.
- (Optional: garnish the bowls of soup with grated parmesan, fried prosciutto, roasted asparagus spears and/or zest of the 1/2 lemon)
Nutritional Values are an estimate only, and are for the soup (with cream), not including the toppings.
Approximate cost/serving: Really I don't consider the cost of the asparagus ends as a part of this recipe since it's something that would be thrown away. With the other necessary ingredients it was just $1.80! The optional garnishes will of course increase that cost but on its own the soup was just around 45 cents per serving (yield depending on how many ends you had).
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: The soup is gluten free and without the prosciutto it's meat free. You can omit the cream to make it vegan and add an additional potato to thicken it up if you'd like.
Serving Size:4 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200 Saturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 20mg Sodium: 29mg Carbohydrates: 26g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 5g Protein: 6g
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.