Spring – the most heart-warming and appealing of seasons. The cascading rivers full of snow melt, the gentle bleating of newborn lambs, the yellow glow of spring daffodils, and the irresistible smell of a hearty vegetable soup wafting from the kitchen.
Spring has always been my favourite season, even more so now that I live in the snow-covered, frozen land of Canada. There’s nothing quite like watching the ground turn from white to brown to vibrant green in just a matter of weeks.
It truly is a season of change in so many ways. Even the weather is unpredictable – some days you venture out without even a jacket, only to find yourself caught in a spontaneous rain shower a couple of hours later. Other days you are forced to rock the “wind-swept” look as the blustery and overcast weather overpowers your unsuspecting hairdo.
Food-wise, it is a time of abundance, as new vegetables come into season and practically beg to be turned into soups, salads and savoury treats. Soup is a staple meal in my house. Not only is it quick, cheap and easy to make, it’s also a great way to make the most of in-season vegetables and produce that may be past its best.
Once you have the soup-making basics down, the possibilities are endless. Spring soups provide so much variety, and with a few herbs, vegetables, stock cubes and a hand blender, culinary wonders abound. Here are five of the best vegetables to use for spring soups.
I’m not sure I could live (or at least cook) without onions. They form a base for so many dishes and add a rich flavour to a variety of meals, soups included. While you may not be keen on having onions as the focal taste in your soups, they are in peak season in spring and add great depth to many other vegetable-based spring soups.
Nothing says “spring” quite like asparagus. This hearty and healthy vegetable can be pretty pricey during the rest of the year. Happily, during spring-time the prices tend to drop as this delicious vegetable becomes more readily available. Try a vegan creamy asparagus soup by substituting milk for a non-dairy alternative, and add a squeeze of lemon juice for extra tang.
For a light lunch or a healthy appetizer, you can’t go wrong with a classic pea and mint soup. The earthiness of the peas and the sweetness of the mint are the perfect combination for those mixed-weather spring days. Your wallet will be just as happy with this soup as your taste buds too.
There’s no denying that mushrooms can be a divisive issue. Some people love them and throw them into pastas, risottos, casseroles and just about everything else. Other people, my husband included, avoid mushrooms like the plague, citing their slimy texture as their worst offense. But texture aside, mushrooms provide a deep, rich, delicious flavour that lends itself perfectly to soups. They are in season in spring, and even the most slimy-texture-averse diners have to admit that a creamy mushroom soup is hard to beat.
This vibrant vegetable is a year-round staple in most people’s pantries, but it is at its best during spring-time. Sweet, colourful and full of nutrients, it is a great addition to a spring soup recipe. I often tend to buy carrots in large bags that I struggle to finish in my weekly meals. A carrot and coriander soup is the perfect way to minimize waste and use up any leftovers. Alternatively, why not throw some carrots, peppers, onions and other unused veg in a roasting dish and turn them into a warming roasted vegetable soup?
These are just five of the many vegetables that are at their prime during spring. Others include broccoli, turnips, celery, lettuce, radishes and greens like kale and spinach. Have fun experimenting with this spring harvest in the kitchen and creating both light and zesty and deep and earthy spring soups.
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