Asparagus and Greens Soup

asparagus and greens soup

As I write this in late spring/early summer, we have spring onions growing tall in one corner of the garden, our second planting of spinach is thriving, and our stand of kale is pretty as a picture. The asparagus is long-gone, but I can find some at my farmers market. I have a few jars of chicken broth in the fridge and my very last frozen local chicken sits in the basement freezer begging me to cook it before I pick up 10 more next week. In short, this is the kind of recipe that is perfect for this moment. Eating it for dinner is like tasting a point in time in a very particular place. The beauty of this dish is also its flexibility. Maybe you have leeks and beet greens and Vidalia onions at the ready. Great! Stir up the soup with them. You know what? It’s also incredibly tasty, not hard to make, and has hit the spot every time I’ve cooked it. Yeah. This recipe’s a keeper.

Makes 4 servings. Double for leftovers.


  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts or thighs or substitute tofu for a vegetarian version
  • 2 cups leeks or celery or other stalk-y vegetable, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups onion (can be spring onions, including greens and bulb), diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (use homemade if you’ve got it) or vegetable broth or water
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus or broccoli (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups (packed) spinach or kale or beet greens, remove large stalks and roughly chop
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Cut chicken (or tofu) into strips. Add to the pot. Sauté until browned and cooked through (about 5 minutes). Set aside.
  2. Add leeks or celery and onions to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally, until all is browned and tender. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Add broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add asparagus or broccoli and cook until tender (about 5 minutes more). A minute or 2 in, stir in greens.
  4. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the soup. Turn off heat and garnish with parsley and Parmesan. Serve hot, adding more black pepper and Parmesan, to taste.