Meatless Monday’s Warm Spring Salad

Warm Spring Salad

I have been cooking all things asparagus this week in the test kitchen. After burying myself in cookbooks and searching the inter webs for inspiration, I love this recipe.  It is simple, super nutritious and makes a beautiful presentation.  With the weather still cool a warm salad is very satisfying, and nothing says spring like asparagus, leeks, peas, strawberries, and lots of parsley all tossed in a simple lemon olive oil dressing. Easy, light, and super refreshing. If you’d like to add even more protein than what the quinoa and veggies provide I’m sure it would be nice with some white beans, chickpeas, or French lentils thrown in too. Nuts or seeds like pumpkin or hemp would also make a nice addition.

Asparagus

A few notes about asparagus:

  • Look for firm spears that don’t bend easily. Asparagus doesn’t tend to last very long, so it’s best consumed within 48 hours of purchasing. When you bring it home, wrap the stems in a damp paper towel to extend freshness.
  • Asparagus may aid in digestion thanks to its inulin content which is said to function as a “prebiotic”
    • In 1 cup of raw asparagus you’ll receive Vitamin K (69.6% Daily Value), Vitamin A (20.2% DV), Folate (17.4% DV), Iron (15.7% DV), Vitamin B1 (12.6% DV), Vitamin C (12.5% DV), 3 grams protein, 2.75 grams fibre, and more.
    • It can act as a diuretic causing you to lose more fluid than normal. Be sure to get enough water throughout the day.
    • Asparagus is anti-inflammatory thanks to its large composition of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
    • Source: World’s Healthiest Foods

Warm Spring Salad

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free

WarmSpringSalad

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or try speltberries for a twist)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra grapeseed oil or whatever oil you prefer for high heat cooking (not olive)
  • 1 leek, sliced into rounds or half moons
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced strawberries (optional)
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

For Dressing:

  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp Raw Agave syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain pink Himalayan Sea Salt & lots of cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • lemon zest, for garnish
  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and place into a medium pot. Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth,water, or broth of choice, we used chaga broth, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover with tight-fitting lid, and cook for 15-17 minutes, or until fluffy and all the water is absorbed. Fluff with fork, remove from heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, grab a very large skillet or wok. Sauté the leek and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add in the asparagus and sauté for another 5-10 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender, but still a bit crisp. Stir in the peas, and parsley. Heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat.

Leeks


skillet

3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, agave, and 1/4 tsp sea salt) to taste. Pour dressing onto skillet mixture and stir in the cooked quinoa. Toss in the strawberries last and serve immediately or they will turn the whole dish pink.

Season to taste with salt and pepper & enjoy! This would also be lovely with nuts or seeds sprinkled on top.

Recipe Inspiration & Photos courtesy of ohsheglows.com

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