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Asparagus - The wonder of spring

These amazing spears are one of the first arrivals in Spring. Popping up from the ground and growing quickly, they show the beautiful energy of springtime. There are so many ways to prepare this delightful and nutritious veggie and it can add a wonderful vibrant variance to so many dishes.


Preparation. So you have purchased or harvested some asparagus, how to you prepare it. There are several techniques and here is my favorite. As soon as you harvest or buy, cook it within 2 days. To prep this delightful vegetable, snap off the bottom of the stalks, it naturally breaks at the end of the tough section - it is usually an inch or two from store bought. If you are using it now, just rinse and drain. If you aren't using it till tomorrow, place the bottom of the stalks in about an Inch of water, upright in a glass, works great.


How to Cook. Everyone likes their veggies cooked to a certain degree. I like mine adente.


Steam or Saute. You can steam or water saute for a few minutes ~ as soon as the green color becomes vibrant, it should be ready. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. You can now use it as a wonderful appetizer with your favorite sauce or add it to salads and precooked dishes.


Roast. I love roasted veggies and asparagus is no exception. My favorite way is to marinade it briefly ( 1 to 5 minutes). in 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon of Tahini, and 1 teaspoon of your favorite spice or blend. I love smoked paprika or Herbs de Provence. Then, roast in the oven at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes. You can check it then and decide if you want a little more time in the oven.



Include in Recipes. I love to include chopped asparagus in rice and quinoa salads. I use the water saute or the roasted method. It is a wonderful addition to a spring time quinoa salad. Below is one of my favorite quinoa salads that I use asparagus in when it is in season and I replace the asparagus with peas, broccoli, or green beans the rest of the year.



Quinoa, Couscous & Asparagus Salad

Plant Powered Payson

★★★★★

Prep Time: 15 min | Servings: 4


Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup cooked whole wheat couscous

1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup asparagus, diced

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

2 green onions, thin sliced

3 Tablespoon orange juice

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence


Directions:

In a bowl combine the quinoa and couscous. If you want to make this gluten free, just use 2 cups cooked quinoa.

In a skillet, use a few tablespoons of water and saute the carrots and asparagus for a few minutes. Add to the quinoa bowl. Add the red pepper and green onions.

Make the dressing by mixing together the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard and Herbs de Provence.

Pour over grain and veggie mixture and serve. You can substitute or add veggies based upon what is in season and what you like.

Healthy Benefits of Asparagus. This article from registered dietitian, Cheryl Forberg, does a wonderful job recapping the health benefits of this wonderful springtime vegetable.


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