Spring has completely sprung here in Nashville, I just noticed the first tulips of the season bloom over Easter weekend and it was such a lovely little surprise. Not only are flowers blooming, but this also means all the local farmers are started to gather up their crops and farmers markets will be in full swing before we know it. One of my favorite spring veggies to cook with is asparagus! Asparagus is one of those vegetables that you either LOVE or you’re not too keen on it (to put in a nice way). This Shaved Asparagus Salad contains some of my favorite spring and late winter produce, including blood oranges, raw shaved asaparagus spears, lemons, toasted pine nuts, high quality olive oil, and simple seasonings that take this salad to the next level and is another way to celebreate spring!
The warrior spear
Just visually looking at an aspararus spear, it looks like a weapon, like a spear headed to ward off disease, fight inflammation, tame and balance blood sugars, and guard your body with antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Okay, okay maybe this metaphor is only going to appeal to my fellow nutrition nerds out there, but it’s true! Asparagus is high in vitamin K, C, A, E, B vitamins, copper, selenium, phosophorus, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese, and choline. Because of it’s wide variety of antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E and gluthithione (also found in many of the cruceferious vegetables), it can help fight free radicals, inflammation, and help the body detoxifiy harmful compounds such as carcinogens or others in the body. It’s also a great source of fiber (about 3 grams of fiber per 12 spears) making it a digestive friendly vegetable to include!
It’s loaded with nutrition, but can it also help beat the bloat? Yes! Asparagus is also a known natural diuertic, which simply means it can help your body get rid of excess water. The amino acid responsible for this is asparagine, it helps get rid of excess water by increasing urination and getting rid of excess salts. This makes asparagus a MUST HAVE vegetable in your repotoire for beating the bloat, helping with swelling/edema, decrease blood pressure for those with high blood pressure or other heart related diseases.
Asparagus is most well known in recipes when it’s grilled or steamed, yet this recipe might be a not-so-common technique not requiring any heat at all! It’s an all raw salad perfect for the warmer spring and summer days, make it into an entree or a simple side dish and it’s all the same…delicious! Asparagus is perfectly fine to enjoy raw and when mixed/marinated in the lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt, it subtly wilts the asparagus making it a little soft similar to when you massage raw kale to increase the digestability of it. I love this salad most as a starter or side salad to a meal, but you can certainly have some fun with it and make it into a nice entree by adding some of my favorite proteins and other healthy fats:
- Roasted chickpeas or black beans
- Organic tempeh or tofu
- Cooked lentils
- Quinoa or millet
- 1/2 avocado
- 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds
- Other fruit like papaya or mango
- Wild caught fish or other animal proteins you enjoy using the NS way of eating/philosophy!
I can tell when I’ve eaten asparagus after I use the restroom, is this normal?
Yes actually! After eating asparagus, you body breaks down the vegetables including a natural component called asparagusic acid, when you body breaks it down using enzymes it creates sulfur compounds- these are what cause that strong ordor! It could happen from 15-30 minutes after eating depending on your metabolism and the smell (if it bothers you that much) can be diluted by drinking more water during that time, but no worries it shouldn’t last you more than 1-2 restroom breaks. Also, young asparagus spears contain more of this acid than older/mature picked asparagus. It’s completely normal if it’s happening to you. You actually might notice this with beets and coffee if you notice this with asparagus.
- 1 pound of asparagus, shaved
- 1 blood orange, segmented
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 cup microgreens or peashoots
- Pinch of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Using a mandolin on the thinnest blade setting or a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus one spear at a time. Be careful not to cut yourself!
- Simply toss the shaved asparagus with lemon juice, olive oil, segmented blood orange, and seasonings. Adjust to all ingredients to taste.
Just in case you haven’t heard!
I have a Spring Brunch coming up in a little less than 2 weeks at Bloomsbury Farm here in Nashville, on April 18th! I can’t wait to see all of you who already signed up and purchased their ticket- a huge special thank you to those of you traveling to come hang and visit! Purchase your tickets here.
Also, I just launched the first of MANY “Ask McKel Q&A” on my YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe here and get updated with new videos most Mondays! You can submit your questions to [email protected]!