Warm Spring Salad

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Behold, non-wimpy asparagus!

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Normally I don’t consider asparagus to be one of the most exciting vegetables, but it always surprises me every time I make it. I enjoy it way more than I think I do. A simple, light sauté leaves it tender, but still crisp and fresh. I find it turns out best when I cook it a bit less time than I think I should. Less is more with this guy! I’ve made the mistake of cooking the hell out of it in the past and it’s something I try not to repeat.

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

 

Since spring produce seems to be picking up speed around here, I’m celebrating my first spring recipe of the season today – a warm spring salad featuring asparagus, leek, 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 + veggies provide I’m sure it would be nice with some white beans, chickpeas, or French lentils thrown in too. Eric also suggested we sprinkle some seeds on top – pumpkin and hemp – and that was a very nice addition!

Keep in mind that the strawberries will turn the quinoa a pinkish hue once tossed. If this is a concern or if you are making this in advance, I suggest adding the strawberries on just before serving.

Cheers to crunchy, fresh spring salads!

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Warm Spring Salad

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

Email, text, or print this recipe

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or try speltberries, but note they are not GF)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 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
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt & lots of 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 (or water) 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 strawberries (optional), peas, and parsley. Heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat.

3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt) to taste. Pour dressing onto skillet mixture and stir in the cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper & enjoy! This would also be lovely with nuts or seeds sprinkled on top.

Nutritional Info

Oh, I forgot to mention – this is also fantastic served cold too!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

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Hayley June 3, 2016

I was really intrigued by the ingredient pairings and the rave reviews won me over. We must be the odd ones out as my husband and I found it just ok. My toddler wouldn’t touch it (strange since he’s pretty good about eating his fruit and veggies), but it was bedtime so that may have had something to do with the utter refusal. Regardless, it was fresh and we finished it all that evening.

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Melissa Merlino May 29, 2016

So good! Parsley has never excited me so I substituted MINT. Along with the peas and strawberries i thought mint woul work…it did! Loved it!!

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Angela Liddon May 30, 2016

What a great twist!

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Faith May 15, 2016

Just made this for the third delicious time! My boyfriend did the grocery shopping this week and picked up what he thought was a leek, but was in fact fennel bulb. Grateful to have not been grocery shopping I simply said thank you and used it in the recipe just as you would the leek. It turned out great!

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Lindsay May 9, 2016

I made this yesterday for mother’s day and it was a hit! I can’t wait to try the cold leftovers today. Thanks Angela!

Reply

Angela Liddon May 9, 2016

Hi Lindsay, I’m happy to hear the salad was a hit! Enjoy those leftovers :)

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Emily April 4, 2016

Made this tonight for dinner. It came together fast and was so delicious! I love the lemon zest. Will definite be making this a lot this summer. I might add some chickpeas to make it a little more filling. Thanks for linking back to this recipe recently.

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