My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A+ For Asparagus!

In preparing for asparagus season, Ryan and I went through three pounds of asparagus while testing recipes. It was a lot of fun, it kept us on task and most of all, it made us want more asparagus! We can't wait to pick up some of the local offerings in a couple weeks and try even more recipes. I'd never think to list asparagus as my favorite vegetable (green beans win that battle), but it sure has made its way to the top, especially when it's in season. Oooh, I can't wait!

I've been craving tempeh reubens for quite awhile now, ever since I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times for Tempeh Reubens with Caramelized Onions. I'm a sucker for caramelized onions, so it was a no-brainer to me that I had to make this. I figured it would be the perfect pairing with the Grilled Asparagus Salad I had planned for lunch.

Sure enough, I loved this version of a reuben. The tempeh wasn't over powering and the sandwich highlighted all the ingredients. This was also perfect for Ryan, who dislikes sauerkraut, so he could have the onions instead.

The Grilled Asparagus Salad was also fantastic. Although only the asparagus is coated with the dressing, when tossed with the salad greens it becomes a perfectly dressed salad. Grilled asparagus is so good! You could totally make this at your next potluck grilling party. Just premake the dressing at home, throw the asparagus on the grill while everyone else is grilling, toss the asparagus in the dressing and serve over mixed greens. Voila! You now have a healthy potluck item!

Grilled Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Chive Vinaigrette
(4 dinner servings)

1 lb. thick asparagus, trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
8 c. loosely packed mixed greens, washed and dried

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp snipped chives for garnish

Prepare a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium. Toss the asparagus with enough oil to coat and sprinkle with a little salt. (Or if desired, blanch the asparagus for 2 minutes instead of using oil.) Put the asparagus on the grill and cook, rolling frequently to avoid burning, until brown and crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove. Arrange mixed greens on chilled plates or a large serving platter.

To prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, chives, garlic, sugar and salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream.

When ready to assemble the salad, toss the asparagus with enough vinaigrette to coat. Arrange on top of the mixed greens. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and the snipped chives. Pass any additional vinaigrette alongside.

*Add tofu, chicken, or shrimp to make a more robust meal.


  1. Both the salad and sandwich are delicious!

    The grilled asparagus is great on the salad and the tempeh pairs very well with the caramelized onions and arugula.

    I am so excited to get some fresh local asparagus with you in a couple of weeks from Lorence's Berry Farm.

  2. The sangy looks yummy and I will have to try grilling the asparagus, it sounds delicious.
    I could actually use some tips on cooking asparagus, I usually over cook them and they get mushy and stringy. :(

  3. Asparagus probably is one of my favorite veggies! Up there with artichokes, mushrooms, and broccoli. Yum. :) The salad sounds fantastic!

  4. Annie - I think if you prepare it as in the recipe, you should be fine. Of course reduce the cooking time for those really skinny stalks of asparagus. I used to overcook it too (ick), but now we're all good :)


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