The New Vegetarian Spring Meals

12:02 PM, Mar 24, 2010   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.--  Chef, author, and culinary instructor Robin Asbell joined us this morning with some delicious suggestions for a spring meal without meat. 

Robin said that springtime is a good time to eat fresh, local asparagus, and today, she shared a light, delicious soup recipe that is simple and easy to make. 

Robin is hosting two upcoming cooking classes.  On April 1 at 6:00 p.m., Robin will be at the Cooks of Crocus Hill in Edina.  She will also be teaching at The Chef's Gallery in Stillwater on April 15 at 6:00 p.m.  For more information, visit

You can find Robin Asbell's cookbook, The New Vegetarian, in bookstores everywhere.

French Spring Vegetable Soup with Fava Bean Pistou
Makes 6 cups, serves 4

Fava Bean Pistou:
3 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh basil
½ cup frozen fava beans or edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small turnip (6 ounces), cubed
2 large leeks, sliced and washed
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pound asparagus
1 large bay leaf
4 cups vegetable stock
freshly cracked black pepper

Crusty whole wheat bread
4 small French breakfast radishes, sliced

1.  To make the pistou:  Mince the garlic in a food processor.  Add the basil and mince, scraping down the sides a few times.  Add the fava beans and process. Scrape down the sides and add the olive oil and the salt.  Purée until smooth.

2.  In a large pot, over medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add turnips, leeks, carrot, and thyme.  Sauté until leeks are softened, stirring often.  Cut the tips of the asparagus off and set aside.  Chop the stems and add them to the pot.  Add the bay leaf and vegetable stock, and bring to a simmer.  Simmer, covered, for 8 minutes.  Add asparagus tips and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Taste and season with pepper.

3.  Serve each bowl of soup with a spoonful of pistou, a hunk of hearty whole wheat bread, the remaining pistou for spreading, and sliced radishes.

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