It’s asparagus season in Ontario – which also means picnic season… FINALLY!!!
My kids love asparagus. Maybe because I ate so much of it while pregnant or maybe because it was one of the first foods they were introduced to.
On his first birthday, my little dude literally pushed aside his homemade chocolate beet cupcake and requested more of these nutritious green spears. I’m one lucky mama and I know it. We make this salad a lot – it takes very little time, is great as a packed lunch for school or work, and everyone in our household devours it. I tend to make it slightly different every time – adding in hemp hearts, quinoa, avocado – whatever we have on hand.
- 2 bunches fresh asparagus (about 4 cups - I choose the thicker stalks for this)
- ½ onion, diced (about ¼ cup - I like purple onion for this, but any type will do)
- ¾ cup tomatoes, diced (I like to use cherry or grape tomatoes, but any type will do)
- ¼ cup kalamata olives
- ¼ cup cold-preesed organic olive or hemp oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 lemons, squeezed (about ⅓ cup juice)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
- hemp seeds (optional)
- soft goat cheese or feta cheese (optional)
- avocado, cubed (optional)
- Rinse asparagus and remove tough ends (usually this is where the asparagus stalk breaks naturally - about 5 cm or 2 inches from the bottom). (Don't forget to retain these tough bits in the freezer to make your own homemade veggie broth, a.k.a. compost broth!)
- Chop asparagus into bite sized pieces. I like pieces about 4 cm or 1.5 inches.
- Lightly steam asparagus pieces over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes (don't overdo it or they'll get mushy).
- Remove from heat and run some cold water over the asparagus pieces to stop them from cooking further. Transfer to a salad bowl (one with a lid if you're planning this as a travel-ready picnic dish!). Allow to cool completely.
- Once cooled, add onion, tomatoes and olives. Plus any optional ingredients like hemp seeds, goat cheese or avocado.
- Prepare dressing: In a medium-sized jar, combine oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. [Note: sometimes I don't use the entire batch of dressing for this salad, depending how I serve it. So if I have extra dressing, I just store it in the fridge to take in my lunch, or for the next time I'm serving salad].
- Place lid on jar and shake it up. Set aside (to be poured on salad at picnic) OR dump it on and eat it.