Grilled or Roasted Mediterranean Asparagus Salad

To round this recipe out to a full meal, add some tofu to the grill then toss with baby spinach before serving for a light summer salad—perfect for lunch. The instructions below are to roast the asparagus, but you can also grill it in a grilling basket or directly on the barbecue.

Mediterranean Asparagus Salad

Mediterranean Asparagus Salad

1 1/2 pounds (680g) asparagus, ends trimmed
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons (45mL) extra virgin olive oil, divided
Fine sea or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (60mL) chopped walnuts
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (30mL) aged dark balsamic vinegar, plus more as needed
4 large roasted red peppers, chopped
1/3 cup (80mL) sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup (60mL) sliced sundried tomatoes
1 tablespoon (15mL) capers
1/4 cup (60mL) chopped fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the asparagus and red onion with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the size, until it just starts to become tender. Remove from the oven and add the walnuts and garlic. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar, mixing to coat. Roast for an additional 4 minutes, until the walnuts are fragrant and the vinegar is no longer runny. Remove from the oven. Cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Scrape the asparagus, red onion, and walnuts into a large bowl.

Add the roasted red peppers, olives, sundried tomatoes, and capers to the bowl. Mix to combine, adding the remaining olive oil and additional balsamic vinegar, if desired. Stir in the basil. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Roasted Asparagus with Pickled Onions

These pickled onions are delicious with the roasted asparagus, but consider saving the leftovers for atop your favorite veggie burger—the best excuse to fire up the grill.

asparagus with onions

Roasted Asparagus with Pickled Onions

For the onions:
2 cups (480mL) cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60mL) unrefined cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (8mL) fine sea salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced

For the asparagus:
1 pound (454g/16oz) asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons (30mL) mild extra-virgin olive oil
Sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the cider vinegar, sugar, and salt in a glass bowl. Whisk until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Add the red onion, making sure it is completely covered. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Before serving, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil, and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan mid-way, until tender crisp and browned. Serve warm with the pickled onions.

Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Tofu, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Garlic

Though asparagus is no longer in season, versions of this dish make its way into my weekly dinners because it’s super easy and I like the simple flavors. Lately I’ve been making a version with some local black walnuts and broccoli from my CSA, with maple syrup instead of the tofu. This easy dish puts simplicity in the foreground–the perfect solution for a busy day when cooking isn’t on the radar… but you want a cooked dinner.

tofu and asparagus

Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Tofu, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Garlic

For the asparagus:
1 pound asparagus, washed, ends cut off, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea or Himalayan salt

For the tofu:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or Himalayan salt
1 (250 g) block extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon agave nectar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Bake in oven for about eight to 10 minutes, until tender crisp.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the tofu with the salt, then fry, about three minutes on each side, until golden. Reduce to medium-low, add garlic, and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add pine nuts and stir for about another 2 minutes, until their nutty aroma appears. Drizzle in the agave nectar, and stir all ingredients together, until tofu is coated. (Add a dash or two of water if it gets too sticky). Remove from heat.

When the asparagus is finished, toss it with the tofu mixture. Serve warm.