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Asparagus Soup with Cheese Croutons

Yield 8 servings
"Green peppercorns have a clean, mild flavor that goes well with fresh vegetables, and they blend nicely with the soup." --Chris Pancerella Gayman, Carlisle, PA

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 (1/2-ounce) slices French bread
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground green peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 86
  • caloriesfromfat 27 %
  • fat 2.6 g
  • satfat 1.2 g
  • monofat 0.9 g
  • polyfat 0.1 g
  • protein 4.3 g
  • carbohydrate 11.9 g
  • fiber 1.9 g
  • cholesterol 6 mg
  • iron 0.9 mg
  • sodium 234 mg
  • calcium 64 mg

How to Make It

  1. Place chicken broth and asparagus in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cook 8 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Remove from heat.

  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms to pan; cook 3 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Set aside.

  3. Preheat broiler.

  4. Place bread on a baking sheet covered with foil; coat bread with cooking spray. Broil 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn bread over, and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese bubbles.

  5. Pour asparagus mixture into a blender. Add rice, peppercorns, and salt; puree until smooth. Ladle 1/2 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top evenly with mushrooms. Top each serving with 1 crouton.