This plant-based version of asparagus soup gets its creaminess from coconut milk and is complemented by fresh notes of lemongrass. If you haven’t used lemongrass before, it is often found now in the produce section of many grocery stores and you can actually cut it into 2- or 3-inch pieces and freeze it for later use. I like to use a plant-based “no-chicken” stock for this because it is almost clear in color, keeping the soup bright green, but any vegetable stock will do.
For the soup: Place a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the asparagus and cook for 1 minute.
Pound the lemongrass with a meat mallet or rolling pin until well bruised (to release the flavor). Stir in the broth and lemongrass and simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the lemongrass and stir in the parsley.
Turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Stir in the coconut milk and peas and cook over medium heat until warmed through, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh lemon zest and the Asparagus Salsa if desired just before serving.
For the asparagus salsa: Place the asparagus, carrots, radishes and red onions in a food processor and pulse a few times until the vegetables are finely diced but not pureed.
Transfer to a large bowl and add the dill, scallions, serrano chile, lemon zest and juice. Mix together well, season to taste with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop if time allows. The salsa can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 2 cups.