Asparagus and Tarragon Velouté (Dairy-Free Creamy Asparagus Soup) Recipe

Photographs and video: J. Kenji López-Alt

How to Make Creamy Asparagus Soup With No Cream

Why This Recipe Works

  • Fennel reinforces the anise-like flavor of tarragon.
  • A flour-thickened velouté delivers brighter vegetable flavor than a cream-based soup.

In classical French cuisine, velouté is technically a sauce made by thickening stock with a butter- and flour-based roux (think béchamel with stock instead of milk). These days, if you see the word on a menu, it's more often than not referring to a velvety, satiny soup with relatively little to no dairy fat. We start this asparagus/tarragon version by cooking leeks and fennel, vegetable stock, and asparagus, before puréeing it all to a smooth and creamy consistency.

Recipe Details

Asparagus and Tarragon Velouté (Dairy-Free Creamy Asparagus Soup) Recipe

Active 15 mins
Total 20 mins
Serves 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped (about 6 ounces; 170g)

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 4 ounces; 120g), plus a few fennel fronds for garnish

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons (15g) all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups (960ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock

  • 2 pounds (900g) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2–inch lengths

  • Small handful minced fresh tarragon leaves, plus more for serving

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add leek and fennel and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fully softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in stock and bring to a simmer.

  2. Stir in asparagus and tarragon. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove a dozen asparagus tips from the pot, split them in half lengthwise, and set them aside for garnish. Continue simmering soup for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Stir in lemon juice.

  3. Blend soup using a handheld immersion blender, or in batches using a countertop blender, until it's as smooth as you like. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper and serve, garnishing with reserved asparagus tips, crème fraîche (if using), more chopped tarragon, fennel fronds, and more extra-virgin olive oil.

Special equipment

Countertop blender or hand blender

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
111 Calories
5g Fat
13g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 111
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 614mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 20mg 98%
Calcium 72mg 6%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 598mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)