Sunday, June 2, 2013

Asparagus and Zucchini Velouté with Parsley Pesto for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

As a rule, given a choice between clear brothy soups and thick puréed ones, I go for brothy. But  at times, a thick and velvety veggie soup strikes my fancy, like this Asparagus and Zucchini Velouté I found on the Vegetarian Times website. I was undecided on my soup this week and this one caught my eye before a farmers market visit. I picked up fresh local zucchini, asparagus and parsley for a nice cusp of spring/summer soup.  

I made a couple of changes to the recipe. Although this soup is a velouté, French for velvet, and a type of sauce made with a blond roux, I made it vegan by using a non-dairy butter substitute.The recipe calls for chopped parsley on top but I thought adding a gremolata-style pesto to add both flavor and texture would make it even better. My changes are in red below.

Asparagus and Zucchini Velouté with Parsley Pesto
Adapted from Kitty Ellyson via Vegetarian Times, 11/2011
(Serves 4)

16-oz. bunch asparagus, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup or so)
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance--non-dairy)
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Bring asparagus, broth, zucchini, salt, and 2 & 1/2 cups water to a simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Transfer to food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

Melt butter in same saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Add puréed soup mixture, and cook over medium-low heat until soup is thickened. (I would add that to prevent any lumps, you add just a cup of two of the soup to the butter/flour mixture and whisk it in well before adding the rest of the soup.) Season with salt and pepper, if desired. 

Serve sprinkled with parsley. (Instead of parsley, I made a pesto with about 2 cups of parsley, 1/3 cup slivered almonds, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, 2 cloves garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.) 

Notes/Results: Creamy and elegant, this soup has a subtle flavor until the lemony-garlicky pesto is stirred in--why I would recommend it as a garnish instead on plain parsley. It elevates the soup into something more. Of course this isn't a health-food soup with the butter (or non-butter if you make it vegan like I did) but it is rich enough that a small bowl as a starter is satisfying and won't break the bank. Quick and simple to throw together, I would make this again.  

Now let's check out the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who dropped by:

Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food shares this Flat Rice Noodles (Kway Teow) Soup and says, "I hardly cook Teochew-Style Flat Rice Noodles (Kway Teow) Soup unless I am able to get fresh rice noodles from the Asian supermarket in my weekly groceries. ... This California-US version of Teochew Kway Teow Soup has been simplified to suit the availability of ingredients that can be easily found here. The most distinct difference is the absence of Teochew fishballs and instead, you find pan-fried tofu."

Brittany of Brittany Cooks is here with Summer Corn Chowder and says, "When fresh corn is on sale at your grocery store for 10/$1.00, you buy it. At that point, it's nearly free, and I do not turn down nearly free noms. With that much corn in my possession, I knew exactly what I was going to make...corn chowder. The corn is truly the star of this chowder, as it should be. The sweet kernels are still slightly crisp after cooking, and the potatoes add sustenance. Thick and slightly peppery, it's the perfect way to use up summer corn, and is now one of my favorite soups! Bon appetit!"

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes says, "Pasta salads are my favorite side dish of choice because they are your vegetable and starch in one nice neat package.  I really like the Vegetable Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese from Cooking Light because it is heavy on the vegetables and light on the pasta.  This was a really fresh tasting pasta salad, and what I really liked about it was that it was equally good warm or at room temperature.  At room temperature, it seemed more like a side dish, but when heated up for lunch, it felt substantial enough to be a main course."

Mireille of Chef Mireille's Global Creations made this bright and colorful Apricot Spinach Salad and says, "With apricots now becoming a regular fixture at the markets with summer approaching, I got some nice ripe ones a few days ago. After eating a few as is, what does a cook do with a bunch of gorgeous fruit on her table? She tries to come up with delicious recipes, utilizing the rosy beauties. ... I love fruit in salads and this one was no exception.

A wrap from Janet of The Taste Space, a healthy Raw Carrot Falafels and Cauliflower Couscous Wrap with a Hummus Dressing. Janet says, "The dehydrator and juicer are now out in full force. Carrots for juice and then the pulp was made into these lovely raw falafels. I know, I said I don’t like raw Mediterranean eats. While I like Middle Eastern foods, I don’t like falafels. However, I loved these raw carrot falafels. Probably because they don’t taste like real falafels. And they don’t use raw chickpeas, either.
In any case, they taste great.

I am officially in serious like, if not love, with the Fava Bean Burgers my pal Kim from Stirring the Pot made this week. She says, "Okay, so I have a thing for veggie burgers.  We're talking a major kinda thing.  As in I like veggie burgers better than a big juicy cheeseburger kinda thing.  Especially if the veggie burger is made from beans.  So, right off the bat, there may be a bit of bias involved when I say these fava bean burgers are extremely delicious.  Even so, I think carnivores and vegetarians alike would agree that Yotam Ottoleghi's Fava Bean Burgers are incredible.  These are hands down the very best veggie burgers I've ever had."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week with their spectacular dishes. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo for all of the details. 

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. www.teczcape.blogspot.comJune 2, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Love your "green" soup - so scrumptious with the addition of zucchini and pesto. Recently I made asparagus soup and it was really asparagus soup - with only asparagus.

  2. Somehow green veggies make me want to eat those pureed soups. The color is just so pretty and the flavor is great! Love the gremolata on top...the perfect crunch.


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