Fighting the holiday bulge…

The holiday season is upon us! Yay!

Chocolate, ginger bread cookies, egg nog, chocolate, candy canes, sugar cookies, chocolate, fruit cake, christmas dinner, and did I mention chocolate? During this festive season, as your feet slowly disappear into the shadow of your ever-expanding stomach, it’s nice to have a meal that’s a little healthy. You know, as an antidote to those ten rum & egg nogs you consumed at the office Christmas party. #nojudgementholidays

I love asparagus! It’s nutritious, tasty, and always makes a dinner seem a bit more special. But it’s such a waste to throw out a  1/4 of each stalk. Not to mention expensive! This soup recipe is a great way to use up those leftover stalks, and it’s very healthy as well. For a vegan soup, use vegetable broth, and omit the parmesan cheese. (Remember that the white ends of the asparagus stalks are unuseable, and should be trimmed off and discarded.)img_5129

AAA Soup (asparagus, avocado, arugula)

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped (approx.3 cups)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb asparagus, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 2 cups chopped arugula leaves
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Heat the oil in a large pot, and sweat the onion and garlic over medium-low heat, approximately 10 minutes. When the onion is soft and translucent, add the sliced asparagus, and the spices. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour in the broth, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat again to medium-low, and simmer the soup for 45 minutes. This gives you ample time to wrap presents, stare mindlessly at the Yuletide log channel on tv, or read all those Facebook posts from your cantankerous old relatives about how saying “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is ruining our country.

When the 45 minutes is up, remove the pot from the heat. Mix in the cubed avocado, arugula, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Working very carefully, blend the soup in the pot with a stick blender until it is smooth and creamy.

(I consider the stick blender to be a necessity in the kitchen. Unlike a stand mixer, or sandwich press, a good quality stick blender will get used at least 1-2 times a week. Most models run between $50 to $100, but whatever your budget, make sure the model you choose has at least 2 speeds.)

As a final step, mix the grated parmesan cheese into your soup. Give it a taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a couple of slices of crusty baguette. This soup is great served chilled as well.

And so, with your tastebuds singing “Joy To The World”, you can sit there, secure in the knowledge that you’ve more than earned that fourth piece of pumpkin pie! And, really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

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