Raw Asparagus and Chickpea Salad with Lemon

a spring-y salad.

a spring-y salad.

You may say, “Raw asparagus?!?” And, I will reply: “YES!”(with much enthusiasm). This is an easy and light salad to make for lunch, like I did yesterday. I used both a little bit of Bulgarian feta and Pecorino. I enjoyed the play of the two different flavors and textures of cheese. If you can find Bulgarian feta, buy some, pronto. It’s not salty like Greek feta cheese, it’s more mild and creamy/not so crumbly.

  • 1lb. (bunch) of asparagus, rinsed, cut into 1-2″ pieces
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup (or more) of crumbled Bulgarian feta cheese
  • a couple glugs of olive oil
  • zest of lemon, plus juice of half a lemon
  • flaky sea salt and pepper to taste
  • some shavings of Pecorino Romano cheese

Add cut asparagus and chickpeas in a medium-large bowl. I cut the asparagus into tiny, diagonal pieces to make it more visually appealing (I guess, haha). drizzle with olive oil–enough to coat the beans and veg. Add lemon zest and juice and feta pieces. Stir until combined. Add some shaved (I used a vegetable peeler) Pecorino Romano on top. Enjoy!

Farro Asparagus Pesto Salad

Cold Farro Salad

I had meant to post this recipe in 2014 and didn’t notice it was hanging out in my drafts folder until just now. (Whoops). This salad can be eaten either hot or cold. It kind of reminds me of spring or summer, which is when it was originally supposed to be published. You can either make your own pesto, or use your preferred jarred brand.

  • 1C. cooked farro
  • 1/2C. cooked/roasted corn kernals
  • 1/2 bunch of steamed asparagus, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • pesto (recipe below)

For the Pesto

  • 1 bunch (or 2, if small) of basil, cleaned, patted dry
  • Handful of toasted almonds
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil (or more if necessary)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor until well blended. I omitted cheese, but, you can certainly add some grated pecorino.

Cook farro according to directions. Add sliced asparagus and corn to a large bowl, then, add cooked farro (this will steam the asparagus a bit, or, you can steam in a dish with a bit of water in the microwave until crisp tender. I like my asparagus a little crunchy, so, I just steam it with the farro). Add the amount of pesto you desire, grate some pecorino on top and serve, or, let sit and eat cold. This salad is really good the following day.

Asparagus, Basil, Almond Pesto

I just threw this together and I have to pat myself on the back for this one, it’s deliciously spring-like. The toasted almonds give it a nice, light crunch. It’s very fresh tasting with the addition of a squeeze of lemon juice too. I’m thinking it would also be good as a dip or on pizza and in calzones. I didn’t add any cheese because I like to keep it vegan and let people add their own cheese if they wish.

  • 1/2 C. toasted almonds
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, blanched
  • 1 small to medium size bunch of basil, washed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 small clove garlic
  • Up to 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • juice from half a lemon

Toast the almonds over medium heat but don’t let them get too brown. (You don’t want burnt almonds, you want to toast them until the oils are released from the nuts. You can tell by the smell). Blanch the asparagus (place trimmed asparagus in boiling water for 2.5 minutes, then remove and submerge asparagus in ice cold water in a bowl). Add the asparagus, basil, toasted almonds, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic to a food processor and puree until smooth. You may have to add more olive oil to make pesto smoother. Also, the amount of garlic is up to you. I barely used 1/4 of a clove because I think it overpowers the other flavors. If you’re putting the pesto on pasta, set aside a 1/2 cup of the past water and add it to the pasta/pesto to thin out the dish. The addition of hot pasta water makes for a creamier consistency.


Whoops and Asparagus Risotto

Okay, so I seemed to have punked on the Christmas cookie recipes, though I did make four kinds (Russian tea cakes, espresso crinkles, world peace cookies and margarita cookies). Ah, next year I’ll be better at posting recipes. Really, I swear. Moving on…Sunday dinner.

I didn’t have much in my vegetable crisper or in the cupboard, and I didn’t want to go to my fruit/veg market again (it seems like I go every day), so I used what I had on hand. Well, that, and I’d had a taste for risotto, plus, I had asparagus. I figure if you ever want to impress someone or yourself, for that matter, have a risotto recipe at hand and get good at making it. It really is fairly easy to make and it comes together pretty quickly too. It’s weird, when I think back, I used to be afraid of making risotto. I guess I thought it’d turn out over-cooked and mushy (it did once, but I still ate it). Since then, I’ve overcome my “fear” and (gotten much better at making it) I’ve made different varieties: mushroom, butternut squash, and tonight, asparagus. It’s pretty much the same steps with a few additions/subtractions here and there and it comes together in about 30 minutes!

  • 2 Shallots, chopped finely
  • 2 TB of butter, plus 1 TB
  • 1 C. white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 C. Aborio rice
  • 1 carton (32oz) of vegetable stock. I use Kitchen Basic, no sodium
  • 1 pd. asparagus, washed, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)
  • 1/2 C. shredded Pecorino-Romano (optional)

Heat stock and keep on low simmer. You don’t want to add cold stock each time to the rice.

I used my 3.5 qt. saute pan for this and it worked perfectly. On a medium to low burner, saute the shallots and butter until they’re soft, about a minute. Add the rice, stir to coat well. Cook that until it’s translucent, a couple more minutes. Add white wine, stir well. Wait until the wine evaporates, then add a ladle of warm stock to just cover the rice, stir again. The heat on the burner shouldn’t be too high, but the rice/stock should simmer. Wait until the liquid evaporates and continue to add until the rice is al dente. (You want it almost cooked through, and you don’t want mushy rice). Just before you add the last ladle, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the asparagus, then add the stock. Let that evaporate. At this point the asparagus should be tender-crisp and bright green, while the rice is creamy. If you’re using cheese, you can add it at this point too. Now, you’re done! Your kitchen will smell wonderful and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something. Simple, eh?