Vegan asparagus soup with white beans is a creamy, rich delight full of spring’s favorite veg. Coconut milk and nutritional yeast add depth and umami while white beans add protein and heaps of nutritional benefits.
Somewhat surprisingly, this simple soup is a family favorite. I say “surprisingly” because I have two young children and this soup is green. It’s also wonderfully creamy. The coconut milk embraces the slight bitterness of the asparagus while the nutritional yeast gives this springtime dish a delicate cheesy flavor. The white beans thicken the soup while adding protein, fiber, and iron.–Kate Friedman
Vegan Asparagus Soup with White Beans
- 2 large (1 1/2 pounds total) bunches fresh asparagus* washed and woody ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1 quart store-bought or homemade low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To a large stockpot fitted with a steamer basket, add 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, add the asparagus to the basket, and steam until bright green and tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove steamer basket and rinse asparagus with cold water to stop the cooking process. Cut the tops from half of the asparagus and reserve for garnish.
- Drain and dry the stockpot. Add the olive oil to the dry pot and set over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion and salt. Sauté until golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Increase the heat to medium and add the vegetable broth, cooked asparagus, cannellini beans, coconut milk, and nutritional yeast. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice and garnish with the asparagus tops, pepper, to taste, and olive oil, if using. Serve immediately.
*Can I steam the asparagus in the microwave?Yes! You absolutely can steam asparagus in the microwave. To do this, wrap the trimmed asparagus in damp paper towels and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Just be careful removing it from the microwave. The steam will be very hot!
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This vegan asparagus soup with white beans was the perfect way to enjoy the season's much-anticipated asparagus spears! The soup was easy to make, full of flavor, and was a bright green color that just screamed springtime. The texture, thanks to the addition of creamy white beans and nutritional yeast, was very smooth and the soup overall was a perfect consistency--- not too thin, not too thick.
I always have canned beans, coconut milk, and nutritional yeast in the pantry, so this was a great way to use some of those pantry essentials. And that last-minute squeeze of tart lemon juice really brightens things up! This made 6 nice portions of soup and I served it with salmon cakes over rice and a glass of Sancerre.
This vegan asparagus soup with white beans is a terrific vegan soup that will fool anyone. I don’t work with nutritional yeast often (I used marmite) and the depth came through in the final product. With such a complexity of flavors, this soup is truly well thought out. The tip on how to steam without a steamer basket is spot on and I'll be using that every time in a pinch in someone else’s kitchen. I used a Vitamix to blend, and the texture was lovely and velvety.
“Is there Parmesan in here?” A question from my husband, and my young daughter was even happy with leftovers. Think cream soup. This would be a great alternative swapped with mushroom or broccoli to get that canned soup feel. A keeper and a go-to when veggie friends visit. Very easy to boot!
Originally published June 24, 2021