Vegan Asparagus Soup
4 Healthy Springtime Recipes
Eating with Elaine

Spring is a perfect opportunity to incorporate healthy, fresh and seasonal ingredients into your recipes.  With the warmer weather I’m inspired by spring’s fresh veggies and herbs. Spring is all about asparagus, parsley, green onions, peas, dill, chives, parsley, radishes, arugula and really everything green.  What better excuse to get in your kitchen and experiment for your family?

Following are four of my latest springtime recipes.  Since I have two little ones at home and work full time I kept them simple and kid-friendly.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

Asparagus & Pea Soup with Parsley & Spinach

This super green soup has been on daily (yes, daily) rotation in my household since the start of spring.  With allergy season in full swing we have all had sore throats and this soothing and savory soup just hits the spot.  It is flavored simply with shallot, garlic and black pepper.  It packs in so many spring veggies into one steamy hot and creamy bowl.  Since it is so quick and easy to prepare it just keeps happening.  We never seem to get bored of it and my husband has proclaimed this to be his favorite thing I have ever made (woah. big deal).  So here it is in all its vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, sugar-free, allergy-friendly glory:

I give you an easy, comforting and super cleansing springtime soup packed with power greens to the brim.  It is quick to make and loaded with heart healthy fiber and tons of essential nutrients.  Asparagus is rich in vitamins A, E, C and K.  Spinach is low in calories and high in nutritional value.  It is high in dietary fiber, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.  It is also a good source of magnesium.  The green peas are high in protein and fiber and are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A and folate.  And the bonus? The parsley helps to de-bloat by flushing out excess water from the body.  It is like enjoying a throat soothing, super tasty, multi-vitamin in a bowl.  Oh, and best of all, my almost 12 month old and almost 3 year old LOVE it and slurp it down like it is milk.  It has been a great way to get veggies in their tummies this spring.

Serves: 4 

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of asparagus (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup non-dairy, plain milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2-3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. To roast the asparagus, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the tough end of the asparagus and discard.  Toss the asparagus in olive oil and place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes until very soft.  You do not want the asparagus to be undercooked or the soup will not be as smooth.
  2. While the asparagus is roasting, saute the shallot and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large pot for 3-5 minutes on medium-low heat until the shallot is soft and translucent. Add the broth, milk, peas and spinach and allow the liquid to come to a boil on high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and add the parsley.  You don’t want to overcook the soup.  You just want the spinach to be slightly wilted and the peas to be cooked through.  Let simmer on low heat until the  roasted asparagus is ready or remove from heat completely to avoid overcooking.
  3. Once the asparagus is finished roasting add everything to a high speed powerful blender (roasted asparagus and everything in the pot goes in the blender at this time). Note: You may want to reserve a couple asparagus spears for garnish.  For me, all ingredients fit perfectly in one batch.  Depending on your blender though, you may need to blend in two batches.  Puree from low to high speed and leave on the highest speed for 40-60 seconds to allow the soup to get smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour soup into 4 bowls and garnish with roasted asparagus, additional parsley and peas if desired. Enjoy it hot.

Spring Quinoa Arugula Salad Bowl

Spring lunches for me are full of fresh veggies, fresh herbs and light dressings.  I love to combine spring’s produce with light and fluffy quinoa and serve it slightly warm or at room temperature.  Because it is not quite summer, I’m not ready for the whole cold salad thing just yet!  I like to make the quinoa the night before and throw the salad together for a quick and easy lunch.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 2 cup quinoa, uncooked and rinsed
  • 4 cups water for cooking quinoa
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan fine mineral salt (or regular salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot
  • 4 large radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado, cubed or sliced
  • 1-2 cups fresh arugula salad
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds or pepita seeds

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add quinoa and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Fluff and allow to cool to room temperature in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Prepare the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, agave, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing onto the cooled quinoa and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  3. Mix in the green onions and shallot.
  4. Serve over or with arugula salad. Top with sliced radishes and avocado. To increase the protein, sprinkle with sesame seeds or pepita seeds.

 

Parsley & Pea Pesto Pasta

Pasta gets a springtime makeover with this fresh dish. It is dripping in an effortless, gourmet, vegan and nut-free parsley pesto sauce that screams spring.  It is sweet, garlicky, healthy and every bite is bright green.  Have you ever wanted to just eat a sauce straight up without the pasta?  This is that sauce.

 

This dish is 100% gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and nut-free.  Plus, it doesn’t contain any butter or added sugar.  With this dish you are getting whole grains, vegetables and plant-based protein from the pepitas in the pesto sauce.  You could even add fresh spinach and cook that down into the pasta for a veggie boost.  This is a family favorite, quick to whip together and full of all the green things you need this spring!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces of gluten-free pasta
  • 1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup sweet peas (fresh or frozen work, if using frozen thaw out completely before using)
  • ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsalted pepita seeds (raw pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 clove garlic (may want to omit for the kiddos)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 spring onions, diced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the pasta. Bring a large pot to a rolling boil and prepare the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta cooks prepare the parsley-pea pesto. Dice the spring onions and shallot. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the parsley pesto sauce: add parsley, peas, oil, pepita seeds, garlic, salt and pepper to a mini food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Once pasta is finished, strain out the water and return the pasta to the pot on low heat. Mix in the parsley pesto and diced spring onions if using. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot.

Lemon Dill White Bean Dip

 

In the spring I can never get enough fresh dill.  The taste of fresh dill actually transforms me into spring-mode.  I eat this amazing aromatic and all of a sudden want to plant a garden, take my kids to the park and clean out my closet (all at once).  In addition to the spring-vibes it gives me, it provides an elegant and unexpected flavor to foods.

This dip is dairy-free and yet super creamy.  It is bursting with fresh dill flavor while accented with a hint of lemon and garlic.  I like to pair with fresh spring vegetables or mix in with salads.  It is a filling appetizer full of protein and fiber (while being 100% vegan, gluten-free and sugar free)

Did you know? Dill has been used in Ayurvedic medicines since ancient times and also yields essential oil.  It is said to be a diuretic.

Ingredients

  • 1, 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh dill (loosely packed)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (or more for a thinner dip)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional – may want to omit for the kiddos)
  • ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • lemon zest and additional dill for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a mini food processor (or regular food processor) and begin to process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking (you might want to add more salt, pepper, garlic, lemon or dill). If you want the dip to be thinner, add one additional tablespoon of warm water.
  3. Transfer dip to a bowl and garnish with lemon zest and a sprig of fresh dill. Serve with fresh veggies (radishes, carrots, celery, bell peppers or cucumbers), chips, warm gluten-free pita bread or crackers.

Fresh Herb Tip

Nothing flavors a dish better than fresh herbs, which boost flavor and add depth to dishes without overdoing sodium, sugar and fat. Plus, many herbs contain disease-fighting antioxidants. To prevent spoiling, make sure fresh herbs are dry when you store them in the fridge. Wrap them in a dry paper towel and they’ll last up to a week. 

EatingbyElaine.com is my recipe blog dedicated to healthy, vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes.  After growing up in a family full of food allergies and after years of struggling with food allergies and food sensitivities myself, I have learned to cook healthy, family-friendly meals that can accommodate it all!

Follow me @eatingbyelaine on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook for more healthy family-friendly recipes.

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