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As I alluded to the other day, sometimes after Super Bowl weekend you feel the need to eat nothing but salad for a while, as an antidote to all of the greasy, fatty, yet oh-so-delicious tailgating foods you ate during the big game. This year was definitely one of those times.  But I didn’t want a typical salad.  Lettuce just didn’t seem very appealing when I stopped at the grocery store last night, so I thought back on some of the more creative salad recipes that I’ve seen and meant to try, and settled on an asparagus salad recipe from 101 Cookbooks from more than two years ago.

Heidi Swanson, the author of the blog 101 Cookbooks and several cookbooks (such as Super Natural Every Day, which I have and love), is a natural foods star, and I frequently look to her when I’m in search of inspiration for a good, clean, healthy recipe.  If you haven’t before, you should check out her site.  Ok, on to the salad.

I ate this salad as dinner, then again cold for lunch (it refrigerated really well).  It would also be great as a side dish, particularly alongside salmon or baked tofu.  Honestly, I think that this would be great however you’d like to eat it.  Just make it, and feel good about all of the wonderful greens you’re getting in one meal!

Green beans, asparagus, broccolini, parmesan, lemon, shallot, olive oil, pine nuts and slivered almonds

This isn’t a traditional lettuce salad.  The original recipe called for asparagus and broccolini.  I was happy to find broccolini in season at the grocery store, and I also added fresh green beans, because I love them.  The dressing she makes includes lemon juice, olive oil, a shallot, and toasted pine nuts, all of which I had handy and happen to love.  I added some toasted slivered almonds as well, because I like the mellow flavor and extra crunch which they add.  The last part of the recipe is the only one that I changed, because I simply don’t like radishes.  So I took them out.  But something was missing, so I suggest that you add some bite-size pieces of thinly sliced jicama.  Or radishes, if you like them.  I just added a tiny bit of Dijon mustard to the dressing to give it some zip, making up for some of the flavor lost by taking out the radishes.  I used a lot more greens than her recipe called for, so you may notice that my dressing recipe calls for more of the liquids.

Keep the dog busy with a bone!

To make the salad, start by putting together the dressing.  Put the slivered almonds and pine nuts into the oven or a pan on the stove top for a few minutes to toast.  Remove them from the heat when they are fragrant and slightly browned.  Then mince the shallot very finely.

Put the shallot into a bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Lightly chop the pine nuts and almonds.  There will likely be extra dressing, so you can keep it in a jam jar.  Set it aside.

Now prep the salad.  Wash all of the vegetables thoroughly, then chop into bite-size pieces.

Heat up some olive oil and a pinch of salt in a large skillet.  I used a twelve-inch to fit all of the vegetables, but you might be able to get away with a ten-inch.  When the pan is hot, add all of the vegetables and toss them well to ensure that they are all covered with oil.  Cook with a lid on for approximately 1 minute.  Taste, cook further if necessary.  The vegetables should be crisp-tender and bright green, you don’t want to over cook them.  They should need no more than 3 minutes over medium-high heat.

Remove the vegetables from the heat, and add the zest of one lemon.  Top with dressing (and jicama or radishes) and toss well.  Add some of the toasted nuts and finish with Parmesan grated on the largest size.  Enjoy!

If you are making this and expect to have leftovers, I would only put the dressing and toppings on what you are eating immediately, and keep the rest separate.  Then prep all of the leftovers when you eat them, to keep the vegetables crisp.

Crisp Green Vegetable Salad
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, May 2009: Asparagus Salad

Juice of 1 lemon
Large pinch of salt
Small pinch of black pepper
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (taste to test, will depend on size of lemon)
1 small shallot, minced finely
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ cup radishes or jicama, thinly sliced bite-size pieces

Shaved Parmesan to taste
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch broccolini
½ of a small bag of trimmed and washed green beans

  1. Prep salad dressing- mince shallot finely and whisk together with the lemon juice, salt, black pepper, olive oil and mustard.  Set aside.
  2. Chop all of the green vegetables into bite-size pieces.  Heat a large dollop of olive oil in a large skillet.  When hot, add all of the vegetables and toss to cover evenly with olive oil.  Cover and cook for 1 to 3 minutes, removing from heat as soon as vegetables are slightly tender, but still crisp and bright green.
  3. Toss salad with dressing and radishes or jicama, top with toasted nuts and Parmesan.  Serve!

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