Spring you’ve stolen my heart and then ripped it out when you decided to vanish this week.
I’m not losing hope on you. I know you will return but I do want you to know that I am not happy about this turn for the worst.
Wind. Lots and lots of cold wind. Dare you dip into the 30’s. Please, it is April. Need we remind you that it should at least be in the 50’s but preferably 70.
I should not have to wear multiple layers, a coat and turn up the heat to stay warm on these cold spring days.
But regardless, I’m not going to let you bring me down. These cold days won’t get the best of me. In spite of this weather, spring is still there waiting to emerge and not go back. So in honor of warmer days I have for you this beautiful spring salad loaded with lots of spring veg.
Asparagus, radishes, strawberries, leeks, you know pretty much everything delicious and fresh for spring with a honey dijon balsamic vinaigrette. A mix of warm and cold that satisfies the very depth of everything missing in your life. You know as crazy as midwest weather can be, the highs and the lows, the very, very painful lows the one thing I love is experiencing the changing seasons. The drastic swing of weather patterns that greatly influences our taste preferences. From warm and comforting foods to our cool BBQ creations, spring time is the perfect time for the collision.
A harmony of fresh springtime produce that is starting to pop-up with the warmth of caramelized leeks and radishes to give you the comfort during the chilly evenings. You see the best way to make the perfect salad is layers of flavors and textures. It leaves you wanting more, craving more. That is why I prefer to mix things up and put a new twist on vegetables.
But it doesn’t have to be complex. The secret to creativity in the kitchen is looking at the basics and trying to pick one and only one change. So instead of roasting asparagus or grilling it like normal, I choose to change the texture by shaving it creating these perfect asparagus ribbons. These ribbons are asparagus are so delicious raw. Yes, raw asparagus may become your new favorite vegetables. I actually prefer it raw. It has the crisp and sweetness of a sugar snap pea compared to the traditional cooked asparagus which can become mushy and astringent if not cooked properly.
On top of that asparagus is a powerhouse vegetable.
It is packed with high amounts of vitamin C, carotene and selenium protecting against cancer. Not to mention the high amounts of histones, folic acid and nucleic acid all which stimulate the immune system. But it is most nutrient dense with Vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a vital role in many bodily functions, allowing your blood to clot, protecting against bone fractures and post-menopausal bone loss, and preventing calcification of arteries.
To go more in-depth, because you love to know this stuff, right? Research continues to evaluate the possible use of vitamin K in protecting against oxidative damage helping to regulate the body’s inflammatory response, lowering inflammation and supporting both the brain and nervous system.
And to keep bragging about asparagus and why you should eat it this spring season is the amazing “prebiotic” properties. Let’s be honest you all know my love for good gut bacteria. That was one of my focuses for creating The Simple Cleanse. I can’t even express how much these “prebiotic” properties mean to our bodies. Plus, as an added benefit I’ve put together an awesome resource of detox-worthy recipes and tips.
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In asparagus’ case, it contains inulin which is a unique type of carbohydrate that doesn’t break down in the first part of our digestive tract, so it can travel all the way to the large intestine where it provides food for certain types of friendly bacteria. They feed the good guys supporting life increasing your nutrient absorption and lowering the risk of allergens as well as cancer.
Okay, lets just do some high-fives all around and go buy some asparagus, strawberries, well the ingredients in the recipe. Make this, eat this, love this and be rewarded by the ample nutrients your body is about to be flooded with.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 3 leeks
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp honey (optional)
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Shaved Parmesan
- Peel the leeks and slice very thinly.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil.
- Add in leeks and caramelize until tender and sweet.
- Meanwhile, wash asparagus and hold onto the end. Using a vegetable peeler shave the asparagus, discarding the end you are holding.
- Add half of the shaved asparagus to pan with leeks and cook slightly, adding more coconut oil if needed.
- Place the other half of the shaved asparagus in a bowl with sliced strawberries, pine nuts, and warmed leek and asparagus mixture. Mix together.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, pepper and salt. Whisk well.
- Pour as much of this dressing as desired over asparagus salad.
- Top with shaved parmesan and enjoy!