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Asparagus and the Joys of Spring

I can hardly wait to share this recipe for Vegan Asparagus Soup with Cashew Cream as we celebrate the official start of spring! Asparagus are the true culinary heralds of spring, and I’ve been finding plentiful, gorgeous organic asparagus in our Raleigh markets.

My most loyal readers report how much they love—and how often they cook—the first Asparagus Soup recipe from Sacred & Delicious that I published on my blog in 2017. Nonetheless, I eagerly await annual inspiration for new and creative approaches to cooking nature’s springtime bounty, as you will see on the Sacred & Delicious BlogSo, my friends, you may want to be adventurous and try another delicious way of eating asparagus soup!

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Welcome Spring with Asparagus Soup

Magnificent spring! O, how we welcome your abundant blessings! For my toast to spring I offer you, dear readers, this easy Asparagus Soup recipe, a sneak-peek from Sacred & Delicious: A Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook.  It’s still cool enough during these early spring nights to enjoy the warmth of  a delicate vegetable soup, though this is one of the few vegetable soups that I also enjoy at room temperature on a warm day.

When I initially crafted this recipe, my intention was to make a creamy soup, but the asparagus smelled so good before I added milk that I served it dairy-free and have ever since.  If you’re accustomed to dairy and think you’ll miss real cream, I suggest that you try adding a swirl of whole coconut milk for a sensual flourish when you serve the dish to your grateful guests.

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Seven-Minute Sides: Sautéed Asparagus

Need a quick side dish to finish off a meal with perfection? Enter sautéed asparagus, my favorite side to accompany almost any menu. It comes in especially handy when you’re making a complex main dish that is time-consuming and you need an easy recipe to complete the meal.

With organic asparagus still in abundance around much of the country, I’m offering this recipe as a follow-up to last month’s asparagus soup. Asparagus complement many menu centerpieces, from legumes, vegetable entrées and casseroles to more omnivorous fare. You can add asparagus to a salad for panache. Surprise your beloved with asparagus in a goat-cheese or all-veggie sandwich.

I call this recipe a seven-minute side,* but if you buy pencil-thin asparagus they will cook in three minutes! If you buy the extra-thick stalks, the dish could take as long as 10 minutes, but that’s prep to plate.

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Fun Food: Vegan Asparagus Wraps

You may recall that I promised a new asparagus recipe still in its gestation period. Today I’m delivering it: Vegan Asparagus Wraps. What I love most about these wraps is that, in my humble opinion, they fit into the category of fun foods. Children (or adults) who say they don’t like vegetables may just try something new if it looks like it might be fun to eat—and anything in a wrap looks like it’s hiding a secret treasure.

Cook the asparagus until just tender, and you’ll hear a crunch with every bite, which creates a pleasure sensation. Crunchy food involves all five senses—you see it, smell it, touch it, taste it, and hear it—amplifying the pleasure explosion in your mouth. (For this reason, I suggest that you buy stalks of a medium thickness rather than the pencil-thin spears, which can

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Can’t Get Asparagus out of My Mind!

That’s the sum of it: organic asparagus spears are still available so I’m using them every which way, whether as an Asparagus & Sweet Potato Side, in a simple gluten-free Asparagus & Sweet Potato Pasta, or as a topping for Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas & Veggies (recipe coming soon on this blog). And of course, my now famed Asparagus Soup (Sacred & Delicious, page 92, made perfect with Easy Vegetable Soup Stock (Sacred & Delicious, page 90). After all, asparagus is the culinary herald of springtime, and it must be eaten with reverence!

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Springtime Asparagus Side Dish

Happy spring, dear readers, and welcome again to the organic asparagus that can be found in abundance in March and April—in grocery stores, if not in your garden! My annual recipe addition to welcome spring always centers around asparagus, and this year’s installment includes a simple and delicious sauce for grilled or pan-seared asparagus. It’s perfect with any meal and ideal for Passover. The best part is that it’s fast, easy, and delicious! It’s also vegan and gluten-free.

I made the sauce with blanched almonds, as these are the preferred nuts, according to Ayurveda. They are lighter and easier

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Easy Spring Salads that Transition to Summer

Honoring the abundance of asparagus with a new recipe each spring is a Sacred & Delicious blog tradition—and today I offer you a flavorful and colorful White Bean and Asparagus Salad. As with many of my recent recipes, this recipe is open to variation. (See my postscript below if you’re looking for more asparagus recipes.)

Here are some easy variations you can make to this recipe:

  • For readers who shy away from beans, you can switch out the beans with quinoa or rice and still have a tempting dish.
  • Serve it as a side dish with a bowl of soup for a complete meal, or just eat lots of bean salad! I suggest either my recent recipe for Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup or my favorite summer Carrot Soup, which you can find in Sacred & Delicious: A Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook.
  • If you don’t like cilantro, the salad will be equally delicious with fresh basil or dill.
  • Adding mint made the dish sing for me but the recipe still works well without it.
  • If you avoid garlic, substitute fresh ginger.
  • Serve it warm or cooled, whatever suits your taste—though I think it’s best when just a little warm or room temperature.
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Spring Side Dishes

As fresh organic asparagus come streaming into our Carolina markets during March and April, they often awaken my creativity, sparking a quest to develop a new recipe for these divine green spears. Today, let me introduce Asparagus with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms.

This is a simple dish of steamed asparagus with sautéed leeks and shiitakes. I added the shiitakes because they’re delicious—and also because they’re known to improve immunity.This year our pollen levels have hit record levels, and many people have succumbed to head colds because their immune systems were weakened by allergy season. So, in years to come, I’ll remind readers to pull out this recipe at the beginning of spring!

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A Fresh Twist on Summer Soups

Get ready to try a unique summer recipe: Summer Sweet Potato Soup with red lentils and cucumbers. It may be a little difficult to imagine what this will taste like, but it’s received some good reviews in my neighborhood! Like the best summer soups, you can serve this dish slightly chilled or at room temperature.

Yes, I love watermelon soup and gazpacho, but Tom and I want a heartier meal at dinnertime so we can sleep through the night without waking up hungry at 3 a.m. So many summer soup recipes you find online look lovely and delicious—but read a list of the ingredients and you instantly know that they may be pretty to look at and quite tasty, but they’re not especially filling. From a culinary perspective, watermelon soup and gazpacho are like ’90s cliches, right alongside the movies Forrest Gump and Groundhog Day. Sweet but no longer intriguing!

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Refreshing Summer Soups: Roasted Beet and Fennel

It’s summer—at least it feels like it after a week of 88 to 90 degree weather here in Raleigh, North Carolina—so bring on the cool specialties like this Roasted Beet and Fennel Soup. Cool soups are a perfect way to refresh yourself when you’re over-heated.

Did you notice that I said “cool” rather than “chilled”? Let’s zoom in on that thought.

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