Spring Green Vegetable Soup

I love this time of the year but there’s one thing that makes me just a teeny bit sad ………………..

………. it’s that soup season has slipped way for another four or five months. I love everything about soup from it’s simplicity and versatility to the fact that it’s a wonderful, delicious way to get loads of great veggies into your daily intake. I also love that, with many soups, they get even better over the next few days and they reheat beautifully, making them perfect for work lunches or meals on the run.

We’ve had a bit of a break in the weather here in the Carolinas and they’re actually predicting a possible frost for tonight. I decided to take advantage of the coolness and make one more pot of soup. I had some fresh, local asparagus along with sweet onions, a few shallots and some lovely green spinach. I gathered a few other ingredients and set to work.

This Spring Green Vegetable Soup is literally loaded with fresh veggies (check out the ingredients!), has relatively little fat and no heavy cream or dairy products (except for a drizzle of Greek yogurt – you know, just to look pretty!). The veggies are enhanced with citrusy coriander and fresh ginger. I had some “taste-testers” for dinner tonight and they heartily agreed that if you’re looking for a healthy, delicious lunch or fabulous casual dinner (I served this soup for dinner with a few pan-seared shrimp perched on the top) this soup fits the bill!


Spring Green Vegetable Soup

Ingredients for the soup:

8 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth), you may need a bit more for thinning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds, * see note
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
1 3-inch stalk lemongrass
1 large potato, russet or golden, peeled, halved and sliced in 1-inch slices
3 medium shallots, peeled and halved
2 stalks celery , roughly chopped
8 ounces asparagus, roughly chopped
2 cups tiny frozen peas
4 ounces fresh spinach
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Ingredients for drizzle:
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons half and half
a pinch sea salt

Directions for the soup:
1. Preheat oven to 475˚F. Spray a large sheet pan with cooking spray or drizzle pan with oil and spread with a paper towel. Place onions, lemongrass, potato. shallots and celery on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with melted butter and olive oil. Toss well to coat veggies with oil mixture. Roast for 5 minutes, remove from oven and carefully stir veggies. Return to oven and roast another 5 minutes. Add asparagus and roast another 10 minutes, stirring again after 5 minutes.

2. While veggies are roasting bring chicken broth to a low simmer. After roasting, add veggies to chicken broth along with cilantro. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add fresh spinach, fresh basil and peas. Stir until spinach is wilted. Puree soup with immersion blender or allow to cool and then puree unil smooth in a blender or food processor. Taste, and add salt and pepper, as needed.

Directions for the drizzle:
1. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add a bit of milk or half and half if mixture is too thick to drizzle. I like to put this drizzle mixture in a small squeeze bottle and finish the soup by drizzling the soup randomly then swirling with a toothpick or wooden skewer.
If you aren’t familiar with coriander, you are in for a wonderful treat. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. But don’t worr  if you don’t like cilantro.They are part of the same plant but that’s really where their similarities end. Coriander seed is citrusy and spicy without being hot in the slightest bit. I recommend purchasing the whole seeds and grinding them with a mortal and pestle. Mortal and pestles can be purchased quite cheaply and are well worth the money and small bit of effort it takes. The aroma of the freshly ground coriander is amazing. If all you have on hand is ground coriander just use – it will be fine.

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