Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tasty Asparagus Salad

My taste buds are ready for summer.  I'm patiently waiting for the farmers market to open so I can buy fresh berries & herbs and summer veggies. Until then, I wanted to share one of my favorite salads that has that summer feel.  This recipe is really more of a side dish but we won't let titles bog us down today.

I started making this asparagus wonder a few years ago.  My mom found the recipe and I put it together one night to go with dinner.  It was delish.  The original recipe calls for Pine Nuts and Basil. While I love both of those ingredients I've adapted the recipe over the last few years and no longer add them to my version.  If you you feel the need, toss'em on in, it won't hurt.

For this recipe I blanched the asparagus, you can also roast or grill the asparagus prior to adding all the other ingredients.  If you chose to roast or grill I would toss the stalks in some olive oil, salt and pepper prior to cooking.

Tasty Asparagus Salad
Adapted from Kraft Foods/Good Seasons
1 C. Grape Tomatoes, halved
2 Bunches of Asparagus, cleaned & trimmed
(After you clean and trim the asparagus you can leave the stalks in one piece or cut in halves or thirds)
1/2 C. Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/4 C. Vegetable Oil
1/4 C. Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Honey*
3-4 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1/2 Tsp. Paprika
1 oz packet of Italian Good Seasoning salad dressing
2/3 C. Goat cheese crumbles + 2 Tbsp for top of salad

*If you chose to use a sugar substitute that's ok. Two packets of your favorite substitute will be fine in place of honey. I've made the dressing with both Equal and Splenda and it comes out great.  

Clean and trim the Asparagus stalk bottoms. Set aside

Slice onion thinly, cut rings in half or quarters.  Slice washed grape tomatoes in half. Set both aside.

Prepare your asparagus, blanch, roast or grill. Your choice.  Cut the stalks in thirds.  (Cutting the stalks into bite size pieces will make this dish much easier to eat!) 

To make the dressing add the vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, honey, garlic, paprika & Italian Good Seasons mix into a small blender or food processer, mix until the garlic is chopped and all the ingredients have come together.   You should get approx 1/2 C. dressing when complete.

Mix the asparagus, onions & tomatoes in a dish, pour the dressing and toss to make sure all the veggies are covered with the dressing. Add 2/3 C. of Goat cheese crumbles to the salad and toss again.

Add the salad to a fabulous serving dish and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of goat cheese crumbles on top of the dressed up Tasty Asparagus Salad.

Dig in and Enjoy :)

This picture is a bit misleading.  Clearly those tomatoes are of the Plum variety.  Those beauties were getting ready for a different recipe and stood in for the little grape tomatoes. Also,I didn't want to empty the whole container of grape tomatoes into the bowl.

 Time to make the dressing.

Veggies pre-dressing.....

Veggies with dressing......

Veggies after tossed with dressing and Goat Cheese.

Just a little bit more cheese for the top.  Yum. I can taste the Summer now!



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