Filling warm asparagus and potato salad

We’re right in the middle of asparagus season here in the UK, so I’m taking every opportunity to fill up with these super tasty stems. But it’s not just taste that makes asparagus such an amazing seasonal treat – each stem is packed full of fabulous phytonutrients and fibre that benefit the gut and body as well as the taste-buds (this old blog post tells you more)

As we move through spring with some lovely sunny days, I’m beginning to hanker for lighter meals after a long winters of heavier warming comfort food. Asparagus is the perfect star of a dish that hits the spot. It’s often served with a frothy hollandaise sauce, packed with eggs and butter – not for the dairy-free diner or someone following a plant-based diet! However, asparagus does work well with a sauce; this cashew and tahini dressing is light but creamy and complements rather than dominates these delicious green spears.

I guess this salad could be classified as bowl food – all the rage at the moment, particularly today, the day of the Royal Wedding; Prince Harry and Meghan Merkle are serving bowl food at their wedding reception, shunning tradition once again! And I believe they will be dining on asparagus too, so you could dive in a create this simple dish today and dine like royalty too. Or any day, really, as to be honest, good whole plant-based food doesn’t need the royal seal of approval, just your taste-bud’s! Have a great weekend.

Warm asparagus and potato salad (serves 2)
250g baby new potatoes
6-8 spears asparagus (depending on size)
1/2 bag of baby chard or spinach leaves
6 cherry tomatoes
1/4 head of broccoli cut into small florets
6 small radishes
For the dressing:
50g cashew nuts soaked for a couple of hours
1 tablespoon tahini
juice of half a lemon
salt
lemon rind to decorate (optional)

Rinse the baby potatoes and pop in a steamer basket. Steam the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until soft. Add the broccoli to the basket for the last few minutes and let it steam so it’s still firm but not raw. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.

Scatter the baby chard or spinach in the bottom of two large serving bowls. Rinse and slice the radishes. Wash the asparagus and baby tomatoes. Snap the asparagus in half so the heads and stems are separate. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Place the soaked cashews into a high-speed blender jug. Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt and enough water to cover. Blend until smooth, adding more water if it’s too thick. You want it thick but pourable.

Five minutes before the potatoes are ready, heat a small amount of water in the bottom of a non-stick frying pan. Add the asparagus stems and ‘fry’ for a couple of minutes until they start to soften. Add the asparagus heads and cherry tomato halves and cook for another couple of minutes until they start to soften and caramelise.

Now it’s time to assemble the salad. Chop the baby potatoes into small pieces and scatter over the leaves along with the broccoli, radishes, cherry tomatoes and asparagus. Spoon dollops of dressing over the top and garnish with lemon rind (if desired) and season to taste. Serve immediately if you want it warm.

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