Who says a salad has to be cold? I’m always looking for healthy whole food options that are balanced (including a wide variety of vitamins and minerals) on my meal plate but at the same time, taste great and are easy to make. Letting go of the perception that a salad needs to have greens or be served cold is so yesterday and this asparagus salad served up warm is a great alternative to your traditional mixed green salad. I’ve learned to live without using oil as there is really no heath benefit of consuming it. Instead, I now incorporate different types of vinegars for not just additional taste but to help burst out the natural flavour of the whole food. In today’s recipe, I’m using a simple balsamic vinegar.
If you live in Ontario, asparagus is in season and it’s prime time to enjoy it. The whole basis of this recipe is around the asparagus. It’s the main attraction! Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Like leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate, which works with vitamin B12—to help prevent cognitive impairment.
Next we add in some sweet potatoes which are relatively inexpensive. They are high in vitamin, a good source of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium, and their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, which helps to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
The third main ingredient, chickpeas (aka: garbanzo beans). They are a great source of protein, rich in fiber, and significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate. The mineral manganese helps support bone development and wound healing and also helps carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism. Folate, or vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication.
So how do you combine all these whole ingredients to make it even tastier? Find how here.
- 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 – 2 inch chunks
- 12 ounces asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red or sweet onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste (optional)
- ¼ tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Spread the potatoes on one of the prepared baking sheets and bake until tender, about 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, toss the asparagus and onion with the garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well coated.
- On a separate prepared baking sheet, spread the asparagus mixture evenly and bake until the asparagus is tender yet still crisp, about 15 minutes, stirring half-way through. Remove from the oven.
- Place the potatoes, asparagus, and chickpeas into a large serving bowl. Pour the balsamic dressing over the mixture and stir gently to combine. Season with more salt, pepper to taste and a little fresh parsley.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well
Your Compassionate Coach,