ASPARAGUS TOMATO BASIL SALAD

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I made this incredible salad for lunch today, and it is SO scrumptious!  I found this pin on Pinterest, and knew that I would have to give this a try (with a few minor changes in the preparation and in the dressing):

Grilled asparagus with tomato salad and goat cheese

I LOVE asparagus!  It has such a unique taste and texture!  Asparagus is part of the asparagaceae family and although it is grown throughout the world, it originates from the eastern Mediterranean, dating back to more than two thousand years ago!  Not only does asparagus taste amazing, it also has many health benefits and medicinal properties as well.  Let’s look at some of these!

  • Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally balanced veggies you can eat. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and many B vitamins.
  • A 5oz. serving will provide you with more than 60% of the RDA of folic acid, 11% of daily fiber and about 10 % of the recommended amount of daily protein.
  • Asparagus has more than 30% of the RDA of vitamin C.  Vitamin C can help build a strong immune system, lower blood pressure, and prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • One of it’s medicinal properties that is most well known is it’s ability to aid in digestion.  Asparagus contains inulin, which is a “food” for two types of healthy bacteria – Lactobacilli, and Bifidobacteria.  By promoting the growth of these two types of bacteria, asparagus encourages proper nutrient absorption and can help in lowering the risk of colon cancer.
  • The dense antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in asparagus can alter metabolic activity in the body’s cells and ultimately help to prevent them becoming cancerous.
  • Asparagus contains a compound known as glutathione.  The three different amino acids that glutathione is made up of make one powerful antioxidant that can provide excellent benefits to the body, such as protecting against, and even reversing, free-radical damage and subsequent age related conditions.
  • Asparagus is full of nutrients that provide anti-inflammatory properties. These nutrients include rutin, flavonids, isorhamnetin, saponins, quercentin, and laempferol, which can all help with common ailments such as asthma, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, and can also help with water retention, PMS, and menstrual cramps.
  • A one cup serving provides more than 114% of the RDA of vitamin K.  Vitamin K is plays a key role in blood clotting, and in the synthesis of osteocalcin (a type of protein that builds strong bones.

You can easily see why asparagus is high on my list of things to include in my diet regularly!  There are so many different ways to prepare it, and I have yet to find one that I don’t enjoy.  Today’s lunch was no different – delicious!  The flavors of asparagus, cherry tomatoes and basil go together SO well!  YUM-O!  This recipe is super easy and it makes for an excellent lunch that feels light, yet is filling enough to ward off any mid afternoon hunger pains before it is dinner time. Not only that, but with the different colors, the presentation of this salad is really pretty and looks like it takes a lot more effort to prepare it than it actually does.  This would make a great pre-dinner salad if you were having guests.  I only made enough for one serving today, but the recipe I give would serve about 4-5 people. Here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of Asparagus
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • dried basil
  • 1-2 pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wash your asparagus, and cut off the ends.  Place asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with dried basil and sea salt.  Using your hands, move the asparagus around making sure each piece is evenly coated with oil, basil and sea salt.

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2.) Put in oven for about 7 minutes, or until tender.

3.) While the asparagus is cooking, slice your cherry tomatoes in half, lengthwise.  Set aside.  In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, ACV, lemon juice, and sea salt.

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4.) Add the sliced cherry tomatoes and chopped basil to the bowl and mix well.

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5.) When the asparagus is done, place it on a serving plate and then top with the tomatoes and basil, then crumble the goat cheese overtop of the salad.

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Enjoy! 🙂

Sources:

 

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