June 2011: Asparagus


Recently, I was on the UBC Farm blog and I saw a photograph of beautiful green asparagus growing out of the soil.  Asparagus season has arrived in the Lower Mainland!  I did not grow up eating this strange looking vegetable, but I grew to love it during many summer evenings barbequing when I lived in Vermont.

I also love the quantity in which asparagus is sold at Farmers’ markets and grocery stores.  It is a perfect amount to grill on the barbeque, with a bit of leftovers to toss on a salad the next day.  Asparagus is a source of dietary fiber, which offers important health benefits as well as aiding digestion.

My favourite recipe for preparing asparagus is really easy.  I like to grill it up for a side dish over wild rice, served  with grilled salmon (a nice maple balsamic glaze is my favourite!).  It is an easy, healthy meal that will impress your dinner guests! I use the extra grilled asparagus in a favourite salad for lunch the next day, so I’m also going to include that recipe below as well.

It’s important to note that fresh asparagus doesn’t keep well in the refrigerator.  Go out of your way to find it as freshly picked as possible.  Try your local farmer’s market!

Grilled Asparagus

Rinse the asparagus in cold water. Break off the asparagus ends by holding each spear and bending it until it snaps. That is how you can know that you’re eating the fresh part of the asparagus – the ends can be bitter and tough.

Put the asparagus onto a plate and spray it with olive oil, then sprinkle with some sea salt and black pepper.

Place the asparagus onto a hot grill. Rotate every minute or so, until the asparagus is just starting to brown. Place it onto your plate, angled nicely over wild rice and grilled salmon (learn more about arranging a plate, as it will add to your enjoyment of healthy meals!).

Grilled Asparagus Spinach Salad

Take washed spinach, add leftover grilled asparagus, a handful of apple slices, some walnuts or tamari almonds and sunflower or pumpkin seeds and put it into a bowl.  Whisk together a few spoonfuls of maple syrup with a spoonful of olive oil and a few spoonfuls of balsamic dressing and your salad is done!  If you have leftover grilled salmon, add that for some protein. For a different salad and dressing option, check out  a recipe I blogged earlier this year in “A Case of the Lunchies.”

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Oranges Every month, the Healthy UBC Blog highlights a locally available food, and gives you a recipe or two to try out.  This month, read all about mandarin oranges, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and folate.

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