Don’t forget the sides this Easter! Try this nutrient-packed Asparagus Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing for your next holiday feast!
Move over mixed greens! Aspargus, a spring vegetable favorite, is the new salad star! This shaved asparagus salad is light and filling, and paired with a heart healthy tahini dressing. Serve it with extra nutritious smoked salmon, or white beans for a healthy boost of protein and fat.
A Spring Vegetable Favorite
This beautiful, flowering vegetable comes out for the spring season (from March to June) and usually peaks in April. What better time than Easter to enjoy these gorgeous stalks? Aesthetics aside, asparagus is an excellent source of folate, vitamins C and K, and dietary fiber. In addition to being a nutrient powerhouse, it also acts as a natural diuretic. You can say bye bye to bloating!
The Smelly Truth
When the topic of asparagus is brought up, it is hard to avoid the common question. Does it really make my urine smell funny? Well, the reasons why are still a mystery. New research has suggested that whether you can smell this unique odor is actually genetic. In other words, only some lucky individuals can smell the asparagus byproduct known as asparagusic acid. Some researchers suggest that when broken down, this chemical releases sulfuric compounds, hence the strong odor. No matter what the outcome, bad smell or no smell, the nutritious benefits of asparagus should not be missed!
The word tahini may be new to some, but I promise you have tried it without even realizing it. It is the main ingredient along with mashed chickpeas in the dip favorite, hummus, or even served atop falafel. Tahini basically consists of ground hulled sesame seeds and a vegetable oil. Instead of buying a jar at the store, tahini is very easy to make and saves you money!
Tahini paste makes an excellent vegan alternative for creamy dressings and sauces. Even if you are not following a vegan lifestyle, tahini has many nutritional benefits! Derived from sesame seeds, it provides 3g protein per tablespoon serving. In addition, this tasty paste is heart-healthy, thanks to its sources of unsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, and potassium.
If it’s mouth-watering macaroni and cheese, glazed ham, or scalloped potatoes for your next Easter dinner, try them balanced with a healthy side of green vegetables! I hope this shaved asparagus salad with creamy lemon tahini dressing will be your next spring favorite!
- 10 to 12 Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: smoked salmon, crumbled feta or goat cheese
- To prepare the shaved asparagus, use a peeler and shave the spear lengthwise. The spears should be thin and long.
- Coat the asparagus spears with one tablespoon of lemon juice and the olive oil in a shallow bowl. This willl slightly soften the raw asparagus while making the dressing. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients excluding the smoked salmon. Adjust the flavorings as desired. Toss the asparagus with the dressing and serve with crumbled cheese and slices of smoked salmon (optional). If vegetarian preferred, serve with white beans for a protein boost.