Simple Asparagus Soup

Do you guys actually follow recipes or do you use them more as cooking suggestions?

Simple Asparagus Soup

My sister Laura told me I should try out her Simple Asparagus Soup recipe when I was visiting her in Texas a couple months ago. So I took a quick shot on my phone:

Simple Asparagus Soup
I’m pretty sure there is an actual sample of the soup on Laura’s recipe scrap.

I thought I would be able to figure out the method when it came time to make the soup. (“I’ve totally got this.” Famous last words.) But no matter how long I stared at that tiny scrap of paper it just didn’t make sense. Steam the onions? In broth? While I make a roux in another pan? What??

I finally broke down and called Laura (while simultaneously photographing asparagus, which resulted in this). She walked me through her recipe. Kind of. She kept saying things like, “What I probably did was…” and “I definitely didn’t steam anything.”

Simple Asparagus Soup

She told me that her husband is always trying to throw away random scraps of paper he finds around the house, but she has to stop him because they are actually recipes. She says she only needs to write down the part that’s not in her head. Laura read in Cooking Light recently about different kinds of cooks, and realized that she is firmly entrenched in the Approximator category: adds ingredients willy nilly according to taste.

Simple Asparagus Soup

This is so NOT me. I tend to stick to recipes (at least the first time around.) I think I only have one recipe memorized (and that’s because I make this Butterscotch Oatmeal for Charlotte every. single. morning.) I’m actually pretty bad at winging it in the kitchen. Why do you think I started a food blog? How else am I supposed to remember what to do?? So really, I want to know, do you guys usually follow recipes or not so much?

Simple Asparagus Soup

This Simple Asparagus Soup has a really unique flavor. I absolutely love it. As the name suggests, there’s not much to it, but the asparagus itself really packs a punch, so you don’t need too much else going on. I love that it calls for yogurt instead of cream. You save some calories but don’t have to sacrifice flavor. Oh, did I mention this comes together in 30 minutes? #win

Simple Asparagus Soup

P.S. If you’re wondering about the books in the photos today, it’s because I joined a food photography challenge group. The first challenge was to tell a story with your photo, and include a non-food-related item. I got the non-food-item part, but I’m not really sure what the story is here. Peruse an ancient encyclopedia while feasting on Asparagus Soup? Relax with your husband’s stolen glasses while you thumb through ‘Song and Garden Birds of North America,’ and let your soup get cold? Clearly I need to work on my artsy BS skills. 

 Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Simple Asparagus Soup

4.80 from 5 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 17 minutes
Total: 27 minutes
Servings: 3 Servings
This Simple Asparagus Soup is made with yogurt instead of cream and comes together in 30 minutes. Spring veggies for the win!


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 & 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, I used nonfat
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Prepare the asparagus: snap off the woody ends. Chop off the tips and set aside. Chop the remainder into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus (but not the tips) and continue to saute until the asparagus and onion are tender, about 3-5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper.
  • Use a wooden spoon to move the veggies to on side of the pot. Melt 1 tablespoon butter on the bottom of the pot. When it is hot, add the flour mixture and whisk it together to make a paste. Try to keep the veggies on the other side of the pan. Cook the mixture for about a minute, then add the broth in small increments, whisking between each addition. Whisk out any lumps. Add the milk and combine. (See photos.)
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a small saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. When it is at a rolling boil, add the reserved asparagus tips. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Turn off the heat when the soup is done simmering. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. (Or use a regular blender. Do it in small batches and leave the spout on top open to allow steam to escape. Hold a towel over it to catch any splashes. Return the soup to the pot.)
  • Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup has cooled, heat on high, stirring until the soup is as hot as you like. Serve with the reserved asparagus tips and shredded Parmesan.


This is not a big batch of soup. You can serve it to 4 people if you have a couple other side dishes, like bread and salad. Otherwise it's probably more like 2-3 servings.
Source: my awesome sister Laura


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 1161mg | Potassium: 661mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1617IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 297mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 246
Keyword: asparagus, soup
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Simple Asparagus SoupChop up that asparagus. Reserve the tips.


Simple Asparagus SoupA real chef would probably scoff at this “push the veggies aside” method, but it works for me and saves me another pan to wash, so I’m sticking with it. If you end up with some flour lumps, don’t sweat it too much. You’re blending it anyway. (Said no chef ever. Sorry guys, it’s the charlatan coming through.)

Simple Asparagus Soup

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  1. I noticed your food styling and was just going to tell you how much I like it. You make me feel sophisticated and smart… ha! Asparagus soup sounds fabulous right about now. I could probably devour a bowl or two to keep me snuggly warm on another dreary day.
    A partial yes to following a recipe. I’ve learned that it really pays off, especially when it comes to baking. I am much more adventurous when it comes to cooking though!

  2. It depends, if I’m making someone else’s recipe and I want it to taste identical, i.e. my Mom’s, I do it exactly the same, but if it’s from a cookbook or magazine, I just kind of wing it. In this case, I’d probably have to follow the directions explicitly, I’ve always been afraid of making asparagus soup, I don’t know why! But THIS, this looks so so delicious, and easy too! So beautiful Karen!

  3. I think I’m partway between “always follow the recipe to a T” and “forget the recipe and just make stuff up!” I try to follow the recipe, but when I know I prefer a certain veggie over something else, or there’s too much oil and I’d rather sub some yogurt, I’ll do that. But that’s only for cooking… The fun part about food blogging is now I make up all of my own baking recipes! ;)

    Totally love that this soup recipe calls for yogurt!! It’s always hard to find yummy creamy soups that don’t depend solely on butter and flour for their texture. And for the books… Hmm, were you researching different types of asparagus? Or figuring out the history of Parmesan cheese? Or — going all out here — studying up on the Egyptian pyramids for the vacation you’ve dreamed of since you first discovered them as a 3-year-old? (Clearly my BS skills need a little work too!)

  4. I’m the cook that never follows the recipe exactly. I always, always have to change something to make it my own. This soup looks so fresh and vibrant. I love your photos!

  5. Is it bad that I don’t? I never fully follow any recipe, and I never use measuring cups/tools. So that being said, I can Never give anyone my recipes. :)

  6. We really are food blogger twins – I posted an asparagus recipe today too :0) This soup looks fabulous!

    I’m not able to follow a recipe for the life of me, and I have 3×5 cards all over the place with recipes scrawled on them that I am famous for misplacing!

  7. Beautiful looking soup, love asparagus. I am one of those willy nilly cooks I’m afraid. Especially if I’ve used the same recipe before.

  8. Usually I totally wing it. Sometimes when I’m making something for the first time I almost follow the recipe, only making a few substitutions or additions to suit my own preferences. If a recipe sounds interesting but calls for an ingredient I’ve never tried before I’ll usually pick up the ingredient and give it a shot because I love finding new tastes to enjoy. I guess you’d say adventurous. All my life friends have told me I should have my own restaurant and although I would love that I wouldn’t work for me because I’ve never made the exact same dish twice and with a restaurant you have to be consistent. Apparently I also have a flair for run-on sentences. This soup looks amazing and I’m definitely going to use the recipe as a launch pad. Love your blog.

    1. I would eat at your restaurant Maralyn! You sound like a natural! I love your sense of ingredient adventure, I wish I had more of that. Thanks for commenting Maralyn, it was so good to hear from you! thanks for reading :)

  9. This soup looks gorgeous! And while I am a recipe-follower, I am also an Approximator so not everything is measured out exactly and usually things are increased, decreased, or substituted because there is almost always some ingredient that I forgot :/ Makes me even more proud when it comes out good after all those challenges :)

  10. Ok.. I was wondering about the books through the whole post. You need help with your story… The soup is so easy you can read a book while you make it…. The soup has super natural antioxidants that help stimulate brain activity that will help you study for really hard exams. Evidently I’m not really good with the stories either…

  11. I sound a lot like your sister. I kind of wing it when it comes to creating recipes and never write anything down. But then when I want to recreate it I can’t exactly remember what I did. Now that I have a good blog I’ve gotten much better at writing down recipe since I don’t think, “cook the onions until they look kinda done” would be very helpful. Haha! This soup sounds so good! Perfect for spring.

    1. That’s because you’re what I consider a Real Cook, Natalie. My sister is too. Your food always looks so amazing!

  12. Love asparagus and love it in a soup. Yours looks great. I also love the arcs you created with your pic.

  13. Asparagus soup has been on my must-make list this spring. Umm yeah, after one look at your gorgeous soup, it is so happening here soon. I lovee smooth and creamy soups so this is perfect for me! As for following recipes, usually if I know I’m going to post the recipe on my blog, I’ll kind of adapt it and add my own twist, just so I don’t copy that person’s recipe too much. But if I’m just cooking for fun, I’ll usually follow the recipe to a T. :)

    1. Thanks Sarah! I had never had asparagus soup before and now I’m sad I’ve been missing out. It’s really different.

  14. This looks awesome. Brian’s going away for a couple weeks in May so probably I will break the “no soup because it’s 98 degrees outside already” rule and eat soup EVERY DAY hahaha. Here’s what I do: I follow the recipe very closely unless:
    1. I don’t have something. “Oh, darn, no broccoli for my broccoli casserole? I’ll just add…um…whatever other green things are in here! It’ll be great!” Mixed results.
    2. I want to make it vegan. It’s surprisingly easy to substitute in a flax egg for a real one, soy milk for cow’s milk, coconut oil for butter, etc. Just don’t put un-soaked chia seeds in your waffle batter unless you love cleaning waffle irons.
    3. I think the recipe is stupid. “Finely mince ONE garlic clove? Ain’t nobody got time for that! I like garlic…I’ll just chop up seven cloves.” Alternately, just throw in a little garlic powder. I buy it from Costco in those huge containers. Regularly.
    Your artsy bs is hilarious. As soon as I saw the first picture I was like, “She’s obviously not actually reading those.”

    1. Sarah you are so observant – I didn’t even notice the books, I was way too busy looking at the soup! As for what kind of cook I am, I totally found myself thinking, ‘I want to make this soup, but I don’t have any asparagus- maybe I could substitute the cauliflower I just bought….’

  15. I am totally a recipe follower, but sometimes I do veer off course if I want to use slightly different ingredients. I can’t wait to give this soup a try and follow it to a T ;)
    PS: I love that picture of you in the kitchen – too funny!

    1. Glad I’m not alone Megan! I’m the same way, sometimes I veer off. Sometimes this backfires though…haha!

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