Asparagus is one of my favorite seasonal Spring vegetables. I love roasting it to a heavenly crispiness or chopping it up and stirring it into a brown rice risotto. Lately, however, I’ve been trying to incorporate more steamed vegetables in my diet. Lightly steaming vegetables preserves some of the enzymes and nutrients that other cooking processes typically destroy. Enter this delicate, vegan Steamed Asparagus Spring Salad. Tossed with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and toasted sesame seeds and almonds, this salad makes a lovely light lunch or the perfect accompaniment to fluffy millet.
The trick here is to steam the asparagus for just the right amount of time, which will vary depending on the thickness of the stalks. I steamed mine for about 3-4 minutes. Too long in the steam will result in limp, bland asparagus…blah. Steam for too little, and asparagus is tough and unpleasant to chew. A little practice makes perfect.
Steamed Asparagus Spring Salad
1 bunch or 15 stalks asparagus
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded or spiralized
2 tbsp. almond slivers
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare asparagus: Chop of break off tough ends. (If you hold the stalk with both hands–one gripping the center, the other gripping the very end–you can bend the stalk until it breaks. The tough portion of the stalk “knows” where to break off.) Discard ends. Gently wash and chop into 2″ pieces.
2. Steam asparagus for at least three minutes. At three minutes, test with a fork–if asparagus is difficult to pierce, steam for a another minute. Repeat process until asparagus has reached desired texture. Remove from heat, strain, and place into a large bowl. Set aside.
3. In a small fry pan, toast sesame seeds and almond slivers at a medium-low heat. Toast for a bout 5 minutes, tossing frequently. When you can smell the almonds, you’ll know they’re almost ready.
4. Toss asparagus in toasted nuts, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, and shredded carrot. Serve into bowls and garnish with black pepper and lemon zest.
Related: North African Spicy Rice Salad
Photos: Mary Hood