Asparagus & Goat Cheese Salad

Spring is the best time of year for all you asparagus lovers.  With a fairly short growing season, asparagus is usually best between April and June.  I, unfortunately, don’t particularly love asparagus. There is just something about the taste and texture that has never been very appealing to me.  However, I got a bunch of asparagus in my veg box last week and didn’t want it to go to waste. I used my  tips from a blog I wrote awhile ago on How to Enjoy the Taste of Vegetables and successfully turned my not so fav asparagus into a delicious and lovely meal.  In fact I enjoyed it so much I went out the following day to buy another bunch of asparagus because my taste buds wanted even more.

As with many vegetables, there are barely any calories in a serving of asparagus.  Each spear contains a measly 4 calories.  Even though it is low in calories, it is loaded with healthful nutrients.  Potassium, folate, vitamin A, C, and K are all highly abundant in asparagus.  It also contains a noteworthy amount of protein and fiber.  A cup of asparagus contains about 3 grams of fiber and protein.  Eating asparagus also contains Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOC) which support a healthy digestive tract.  Inulin and FOC are prebiotics which stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, in the human gut.

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Salad

makes 3 servings

1 bunch (8-9 stalks) asparagus, tough end trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium leek, white and tender green parts, cleaned and sliced

dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup cooked Cannellini bean (or any other white bean)

3 tablespoons sliced black olive

1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons soft goat cheese

Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil.  Cook asparagus in boiling water for 1 minutes, until crisp-tender.  Drain and cut into 3-inch pieces.

Heat olive oil in a pan or skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until vegetables soften and leeks turn slightly golden.

Toss cooked leeks with cooked asparagus, beans, olives, tomatoes, lemon juice, lemon zest, and balsamic vinegar.  Top with goats cheese and serve.

Recipe Note: Lemon zest gives more flavor than lemon juice itself, so it is wise to include both the juice and zest for a fuller flavor.  I learned this from one of my favs Ina Garten. :)

Nutrition facts per serving: 198 calories, 11 g total fat, 342 mg sodium, 17 g total carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 10 g protein


BALANCE IT OUT: This salad makes a great starter or side salad.  It works great as a light main meal too if you increase the serving size and pair with a whole grain roll or fresh fruit.

“When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angeleou

Love,

Renee

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