Celebrate Spring With These Fresh Seasonal Soups

Send your winter recipes into hibernation and use fresh finds from the farm stand to whip up these light, nutritious soups. They taste like sunshine in a bowl.  

Asparagus Minestrone 

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add a 10-ounce package mirepoix and heat 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a pint of cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Heat 30 seconds. Add a 14-ounce can cannellini or navy beans (rinsed and drained) and 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth to pan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over mediumlow heat for 10 minutes. Trim woody ends from 2/3 pounds asparagus and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to pan and simmer 10 more minutes or until asparagus is tender but not mushy. Stir in 4 cups spinach and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Heat just until spinach is wilted. Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped chives. Serves 4. 

Minty Pea Potato Soup 

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 thinly sliced leek and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic and 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper and cumin. Heat 1 minute. Add 1/2 pound quartered new potatoes and 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups fresh shelled or frozen green peas, and heat for 5 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup fresh mint and juice of 1/2 lemon. Using a blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth, in batches if necessary. Serves 4. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Soup 

Place 2 cups strawberries and 2 tablespoons water in a blender and blend until smooth. Place puree in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and press down with a spatula to separate the seeds. Discard seeds and return puree to blender along with 1 cup sliced, raw rhubarb, 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (such as Thai Kitchen brand), 2 tablespoons fresh mint, 1 tablespoon honey, 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate soup for at least 2 hours before serving. If chilling thickens it too much, stir in additional coconut milk. Serve garnished with sliced fresh strawberries and 1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios. Serves 4. 

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