Asparagus Ribbon Salad
Delicious dishes don’t have to be complicated – just a few ingredients and a few minutes is often all you need. One of my go-to resources for healthy and simple recipe inspiration is Catherine McCord’s family-friendly recipe website, Weelicious.
On our birthdays growing up, my sister, brother and I got to pick our favorite meal for dinner. Mine was usually asparagus. I will admit, the green spears were probably little more than a vehicle for my dad’s addicting (Butter! Egg yolk! Lemon! More butter!) homemade hollandaise sauce.
These days, I’m pretty excited about actually tasting the vegetables I’m eating. I’ve been experimenting with cooking asparagus in much healthier ways – roasting, grilling, sautéing it. Catherine’s Asparagus Ribbon Salad uses raw asparagus – easy!
Asparagus in season right now, and it’s on EWG’s 2013 Clean 15 list – meaning that even if you can’t buy it organic, the conventional version has lower pesticide residues than most vegetables. (As always, just make sure to wash all your produce well, regardless of how it was grown.) Every year, EWG researchers study U.S. government lab tests of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables and publish EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, with Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists so shoppers know which fruits and vegetables are the most important to buy organic and what alternatives to buy to reduce their exposure to weed- and bug-killers. EWG recommends eating more fruits and veggies and buying them organic if possible. When organic produce is pricey or unavailable, the Shopper’s Guide is a great tool for savvy shoppers.
I used only asparagus for this salad, but carrots or zucchini ribbons would be beautiful additions. Be creative! One thing you’ll definitely need is a vegetable peeler.
Asparagus Ribbon Salad (as a side salad, serves 2-4)
One large bunch of asparagus (about 3 cups of “ribbons”)
Juice from 1 large lemon (about 3 tablespoons lemon juice)
Zest from 1 lemon
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
About ¼ cup of ricotta cheese
Pinch of sea salt
Handful of almonds to top (try pine nuts if you’re feeling fancy!)
1. Place the asparagus on a cutting board, holding the bottom inch of the stalk with your hand. Using a vegetable peeler, shave each stalk into thin ribbons. Don’t peel the bottom inch or so of each stalk because this fibrous part is chewy and not tasty. Shaved pieces go in a large bowl.
- Tip: Asparagus with thicker stalks makes peeling easier.
2. Zest the lemon skin with a zester or fine cheese grater.
3. In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemon and whisk in olive oil.
- Tip: Roll zested lemon between your hand and cutting board to maximize lemon juice.
4. Drizzle dressing on the salad, tossing to mix evenly.
5. Top salad with chopped raw or roasted almonds.
6. Top each serving with a spoonful of ricotta cheese and a pinch of salt and lemon zest.
- Tip: If you don’t have ricotta, try another cheese. Catherine recommends shaved parmesan cheese.