By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Anyone love asparagus? Did you know it is a member of the lily family? It is great nutritionally and helps to support the gut, boosts energy, is anti-inflammatory (contains glutathione), is a great source of B vitamins, especially folate which helps to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood and is important in the prevention of neural tube defects. Asparagus also contains antioxidants and vitamin E which are great for skin health. Asparagus is also rich in the soluble fibre oligosaccharide which acts as a prebiotic in the gut feeding the ‘good’ bacteria. It is also a great source of vitamin C, magnesium (the happy mineral), potassium and iron.
What does asparagus go well with?
Asparagus pairs well with eggs, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon, butter, nuts such as walnuts or hazelnuts, mint, broad beans, peas, bacon, orange, new potatoes…the list goes on!
Mediterranean Asparagus, Feta and Tomato Salad
2 lbs fresh asparagus
4 medium vine ripened tomatoes – quartered
6oz chopped walnuts, toasted (or pine nuts)
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A large pan of water should be brought to a boil. Meanwhile whilst this is happening, make the dressing: in a small saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil over medium heat and cook for around 2 minutes, or until it has reduced by half.
Add the olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, and crushed garlic to a bowl and whisk to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Place the asparagus into the boiling water and allow to boil until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile fill a medium mixing bowl with ice and cold water. Drain and immediately transfer asparagus to ice water, let rest about 10 seconds then drain asparagus well. Transfer to a serving dish with the tomatoes and walnuts. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss lightly. Sprinkle over the feta, mix and enjoy!