Sunday, March 29, 2009

Asparagus-Lemongrass Bisque with Herb Pesto and Spiced Almonds for Souper Sunday & Royal Foodie Joust

Today's soup is a "two-fer", as not only did I make it for Souper Sunday, I decided to use the ingredients selected for this month's Royal Foodie Joust from The Foodie BlogRoll. The three ingredients, selected by last month's winner, 5 Star Foodie, are asparagus, lemongrass and almonds. I decided to make a healthy, non-dairy Asparagus-Lemongrass Bisque with Herb Pesto and Spiced Almonds. I worked the three ingredients into the dish in different ways; the soup has a fresh lemongrass broth, lots of asparagus, and almond milk, the pesto has slivered almonds, lemon grass paste and mint and cilantro and the toasted sliced almonds on top are spiced with lemon-grass and Chinese 5 spice powders. The perfect soup to welcome Spring with, which is why the garnish became spiced almond flowers on shaved asparagus stems!

Asparagus-Lemongrass Bisque with Herb Pesto and Spiced Almonds
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 6 servings)

5 cups water
4 stalks lemongrass, lower stalks, peeled chopped into 2-3" pieces and bruised
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved, sliced thinly
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5-6 cups)
salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups almond milk 

Bring water and lemongrass to a boil in a large pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sliced leeks and potatoes, return to boil and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Add asparagus. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes. Puree using Immersion Blender or blender or food processor (If using blender or food processor, cool soup slightly first and puree in small batches). Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in almond milk. Taste again for seasoning, add more if needed. Serve warm or refrigerate until cold.  Serve with garnishes, (recipes below).


Herb Pesto

1 1/2  cup mint leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup almond slivers
1 Tbsp lemongrass paste
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in food processor. Add water if needed to thin out pesto to desired consistency.


Lemongrass-Five Spice Almonds

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried lemongrass powder
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add lemongrass and five spice powders. Heat through and add almonds. Cook almonds, stirring constantly until browned and crispy.

Notes/Results: Thick, creamy, and delicious, but with the added benefit of being healthy. I was so happy with how this soup came together from my head to the bowl. All three of the components are great on their own but together they offer up layers of flavors and textures. You get the creamy, lightly lemony soup, then a brighter tangy herbal taste of the pesto and finally the nice spice and crunch of the almonds. The combination of the potato and almond milk make this soup creamy enough that you don't miss the usual cream that a bisque has. It goes together easily and would be a nice starter soup for lunch or dinner. I tried it both warm and cold and it works really well at either temperature. I will make this again.

You can check out all the RFJ entries at the Foodie BlogRoll Forum here. (If you are a Foodie Blogroll member, take time to vote for your favorite entry the week of April 3rd).

Let's see what other delicious soups are waiting in the Souper Sunday Kitchen this week:

Our first soup is from a new face at Souper Sunday, Alison from More Than Yesterday who comes to us from either Vancouver or the Bay Area (she spends time in both places these days). Alison is sharing a healthy Veggie-Miso Soup she created for a friend's potluck. This simple, light soup has tofu, bok choy and one of my favorites, enoki mushrooms, in a miso broth. Welcome Alison!

Like many of us, Kim from Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet, is trying to cook and eat some lighter and healthier foods these days, now that spring is here. This week she made a bright green Avocado Zucchini Soup to help her with that goal. Kim says it is "healthy and delicious" and tastes as good as it looks. Now she just has to convince her husband to join her on her journey to better fitness!

It's nice to have Tara, The Diva on a Diet, from Beach Eats back at Souper Sundays this week. She was feeling a bit under the weather and knew she needed some chicken soup. She found this unusual Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup with Turnips and the unique combo of the chicken, thyme, turnips and cheese appealed to her. Tara says the combo works, the soup's flavor is "extraordinary" and even her husband, not a turnip fan, downed two bowls!

At the beginning of the year, Ulrike from Küchenlatein, set a goal of making a weekly soup and she is sticking to it, sending her 10th soup so far to Souper Sundays. This week, her inspiration was almonds, the theme of a German blog event and she made an Almond Soup with Chorizo Oil. Thick and creamy with a kick from the chorizo oil, it is the perfect soup to warm up the still cool days and nights in Germany.

Another newcomer to Souper Sundays is Lissaloo from One Step at a Time, who joins us from Montana. She made a yummy bowl of Italian Wedding Soup from her Mom's recipe this week. Since it's still pretty chilly still in Montana, this hearty soup with it's orzo, spinach and mini meatballs really hit the spot. Her daughter loved sprinkling the cheese on her own little bowl! Thanks for joining us Lissaloo!

Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies has taken on Italy with Jamie Oliver's, My Favorite Ribollita (la mia ribollita preferita), this week. This very classic Tuscan "peasant" soup is full of tomatoes, veggies, beans and bread. Natashya says this ribollita, whose name literally means "reboiled", is hearty, filling and very tasty, especially with the cheese sprinkled on top.

I am happy to see Debbie from The Friday Friends, who is back this week with two soups to share. Debbie has a dream to open a soup restaurant, until then she makes soups for friends and for her book clubs where these soups were a hit. The first is Dreamy Clam Chowder, with lots of clams, potatoes and bacon. 

The second is a Turkey Soup (or Chicken Soup depending on your preference). This one has green and red pepper potatoes and corn. Debbie says they are both "REALLY GOOD soups!"

Preparing for a week of indulging with a visiting brother and her 10 year-old's Birthday, Suzie from Munch & Nibble felt the need to get some nutritious broccoli into her system. She found the perfect recipe, Broccoli Soup with Grilled Haloumi from an old Donna Hay Magazine. Suzie says that "the haloumi gives a lovely salty kick and a textural contrast to the smooth broccoli flavours." (Being a big fan of this salty, chewy cheese myself, this one is going on my "must try" list!)

Kait from Pots and Plots is here with a homey Crock Pot Lentil Soup. Temps in the 50's in Mississippi this week had Kait craving lentils and she decided to make a soup where they were "the star of the show". Wanting something easy, that she didn't have to watch, she pulled out her slow cooker and filled it with all kinds of good ingredients, allowing her the opportunity to do a little freezer "thinning" too.  

Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness is here this week with a lovely bowl of Italian Chicken, Bean and Pasta Soup. With homemade stock from a roast chicken, crisped proscuitto, beans, veggies and pasta, Stephanie says this is a "pretty awesome soup" and according to her husband Matt, it's "full of flavor and very filling"

Another week of creative and delicious soups and something for everyone! Mahalo to all the great bloggers who participated. (You can find more details about their soups on their blogs). If you want to share a soup or soup-like creation at Souper Sundays, you can find all the details by clicking on the Souper Sunday logo on the side bar.


  1. Oooh pretty almond flowers! I've never had lemongrass before - is it lemony?

  2. All the soups you posted look delicious! I love the picture of your cute. I've never cooked with lemongrass before.

  3. I'm so bummed that I didn't have time for soup this week, but Deb..Your soup is GORGEOUS! I'd love a picture of that in my kitchen :)

  4. I love, love, love your soup! Seriously love it! It is adorable!

  5. The Bisque with the almond flowers is so beautiful! All the soups look wonderful, I have a bunch of new blogs to go check out :)

  6. Your soup is so pretty and has such a Spring look and taste! You did a great job with. I'll be sure to go over and vote for you! All of the soups look yummy!!

  7. Deb, I want to be the first to say it - you are a soup genius! :)
    I adore the little daisies in the soup - so, so cute.

  8. That may be the prettiest soup I've ever seen! I've never had almond milk before, what's it like?

  9. Megan--thanks! Lemongrass has a lighter, not as tart but still lemony taste and aroma.

    Sara--thanks! Almond milk is very similar to rice milk (and also soy although the flavor isn't as strong). I mostly use it in cooking or smoothies sometimes instead of dairy.

  10. Debbie, you soup sounds so delicious and beautiful with the almong flower! As soon as we have German green asparagus I'll try it.

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  11. Bravo on the lovely Jousting Soup. Sounds luscious!

  12. Your flower design just made me squeal! Asparagus soup sounds so interesting.

  13. Amazing round-up as always, Deb! I am completely smitten with your asparagus-lemongrass bisque. That might be the prettiest soup I've ever seen and the combination sounds fantastic. Wow! Congrats! :)

  14. How cute! Love the flowers! The soup sounds delicious too. I hope I can get into the round up this week. I have only had lemongrass once, on my honeymoon cruise from a woman who was growing it in her backyard. So cool!

  15. Gorgeous photos. So many of you foodies take the most amazing photos. I think I need a better camera!

  16. I have posted my Soup recipe for this week, I made a yummy potato soup :)

  17. That presentation with the almond flowers is simply amazing.

  18. Your bisque looks wonderful and I love the flowers!
    Does regular cow milk still work, or does it have to be a non-animal milk?

  19. Alison--I think regular milk would work fine in it too.

  20. Such a nice way to welcome spring, complete with the presentation to show for it :)

  21. I love the whole idea of this...almond milk and toasted almond flowers garnishing! I gained great respect for cream of almond soup while in the hospital once upon a time! This came out lovely, and I'll be it tasted fabulous!


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