Creamy fennel, spinach and asparagus soup [Vegan]

I love a soup that is intensely flavorful yet simple to make. This soup has relatively few ingredients but boasts a rich flavor, and an equally beautiful color. The spinach adds a lovely bright green and both the color and taste celebrate spring time.

The original recipe did not call for adding asparagus, but I had quite a few tips and cores left after making a shaved raw asparagus salad. I thought they would make a perfect addition to the fennel and spinach, and helps with the vibrant green color almost as much as the spinach does.

The original recipe also calls for adding mascarpone cheese. I include this in the ingredients list and the instructions. However, it's easy enough to make this a vegan soup by leaving out the cheese entirely. It is added mainly for texture, so you can instead add in a bit more potato for the thicker consistency achieved with the cheese.

This recipe is adapted from Small Plates & Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced (or 4 small potatoes, if leaving out mascarpone cheese)
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
2 ounces mascarpone cheese (omit for the vegan version)

1. In a medium saucepan over a medium flame, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot, fennel, salt and pepper and cook until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Add in the diced potatoes, remaining spices, and vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.

3. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat, and stir in the mascarpone cheese.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

4. Transfer the soup to a blender, or use a hand blender to puree it until smooth. Add more salt or pepper to taste.

5. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a drop or two of balsamic vinegar, and perhaps a sprinkle of chopped rosemary leaves.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Tags: Cooking | Recipes | The Cooking Project | Vegan | Vegetarian | Weekday Vegetarian