This classic Spanish vegetable stew, menestra de verduras, has many regional variations, and can be made with different vegetables according to season. Constant ingredients include potatoes, carrots, and green peas; artichokes are the most characteristic. Fresh artichokes are called for in traditional recipes, but using the canned or frozen variety simplifies the process.
Though it’s a stew, it’s nice and light, and with plenty of fresh asparagus, this is a great dish for a cool spring evening. A great companion to this is Chickpea Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, and Basil, and fresh whole-grain bread. Adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons; photo by Michael Polito.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 8 ounces white or crimini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 8 stalks asparagus, bottoms trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- One 15-ounce can imported artichoke hearts, drained and quartered,
or one 10-ounce package frozen, thawed and quartered
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Add the water, wine, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and paprika. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
Add the asparagus and cook over low heat until tender but still bright green, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the artichoke hearts, peas, and parsley. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes longer. If time allows, let the stew stand off the heat for an hour or so. Heat gently before serving. If the stew is too dense, add just a bit more water, then adjust the seasonings.
Per serving: Calories: 222; Total fat: 5g; Protein: 7g; Fiber: 10g; Carbs: 37g; Sodium: 100mg
- Here are more recipes for light and lively spring soups.