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By: Chef Laura Bonicelli

Rhubarb, asparagus, and spinach show up early in the farmers’ markets in Minnesota. This sweet and savory soup uses all three together, a true tribute to spring’s bounty.

Buy your ingredients at your favorite Farmers Market! 


about Agrodolce Rhubarb Soup

The Italian term Agrodolce translates to bitter-sweet in English. It refers to combinations like vinegar and honey or, in this dish, rhubarb and sugar. What could be better than using rhubarb? Its natural tartness demands some sweetness. But, in this case, it takes the bitter edge off; it’s not enough sugar to put the soup into the dessert category.

There’s a lot to love about this soup. For one thing, the color is gorgeous. It’s quick to put together and unusual. And it is a perfect menu item for early June in Minnesota because all three key ingredients, rhubarb, asparagus, and spinach, are readily available at the market. Green onions make an excellent substitution for the shallots, by the way.


Usually, I serve this soup with a salad or as a starter to a meal. It’s delicious hot or at room temperature.

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cutting up rhubarb
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Step by Step Instructions

Agrodolce Rhubarb Soup

Agrodolce Rhubarb Soup

© Chef Laura Bonicelli
Rhubarb, asparagus, and spinach show up early in the farmers markets in Minnesota. This sweet and savory soup uses all three together, a true tribute to spring's bounty.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dish - Vegetarian, Soups and Stews, Starters
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 6
Calories 201 kcal


  • 2 cups rustic bread cut into 1-inch cubes


  • 6 asparagus spears trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed rhubarb stalks cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 5 ounces baby spinach


  • Maldon sea salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake, occasionally stirring, until toasted and golden, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool. Increase oven temperature to 375ºF.
  • Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Combine the rhubarb, water, shallots, oil, sugar, and salt and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, occasionally stirring, until the rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender), blend, and return to the pot. Heat to a simmer, cover, and turn off the heat.
  • Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and saute until wilted.
  • Fill six small bowls with soup. Divide the asparagus, spinach, and bread cubes between the bowls. Sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with oil, and serve.

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Calories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 557mgPotassium: 185mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 2395IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Keyword asparagus, shallot, spinach
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