It’s one of my favourite times of the year – asparagus season. I just love those wonderful deep green, aromatic spears that melt on the tongue as you bite into them. I even have a special little asparagus song that my husband has to listen to me singing whilst it lays in the steamer (he loves it really…… 😉 )
Asparagus is one of the those seasonal treats that just taste so good. Of course, you can buy it in the supermarkets in the UK all year round, but generally it’s been flown from Peru or some other far flung place. It may be delicious, but the environmental cost is too high just to satisfy my tastebuds.
That does mean I feel fully justified eating is as much as possible during the (sadly) narrow season that tends to run between 21st April to 21st June (or there and there about). And it’s not just taste that makes asparagus such a delight to eat. It packs a good nutritional punch plus it contains a type of fibre, inulin, that gut bacteria just love to eat. And happy bacteria means a happy microbiome.
The microbiome is incredibly important for maintaining health – so much so, it has it’s own section in my book Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie. Inulin is loved by friendly gut bacteria and acts as a prebiotic, making it our dinner and theirs! For more information about the nutritional benefits of asparagus check out this old blog post here.
Traditionally, asparagus is served with hollandaise sauce, a super-rich warm sauce made with butter and egg yolks – most definitely not dairy-free and plant-based! Even before I changed my way of eating, it was off the menu; I loved the flavour, but it’s intense richness was too much for my sensitive stomach.
Then four years ago, I created a fully plant-based version and was well chuffed. I wrote the recipe down in my notebook – and then promptly lost it! What a pillock! I look everywhere (or thought I did) to no avail. So I forgot about it.
Then a few weeks ago I was sorting out a pile of papers and guess what – I found it! Horray! And it’s so simple. And delicious. And moreish!
Ideally, the ingredients should be blended together in a variable speed food processor rather than blitzing in a high-speed blender, but if that’s all you have then just be as careful as you can. Play around with the flavour levels too to get the deep, decadent flavour you desire. I’ve found that cold-pressed flaxseed oil really adds the final richness needed – as well as some super-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Because these fats are so volatile and delicate, it’s important not to overheat it when you warm the sauce through. So use a low heat and watch like a hawk (you only want it warm, not even simmering) or if you have the time, warm it in a bowl over a simmering pan. It’s worth it!
The wonderful thing about this sauce is that it tastes just as good cold, and makes a deliciously unctuous sauce or dressing for cooked vegetables or salad. Versatile and tasty – you can’t go wrong!
If you love asparagus but are missing a lovely hollandaise to complement it, then do give this a go; you may even find you start singing an asparagus song of your own :).
Plant-based hollandaise sauce
- 100 grams silken tofu
- 100 mls almond or oat milk
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- pinch black salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed flaxseed oil
- Place the tofu, dairy-free milk, mustard, turmeric, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food pressor. Blend on a slow speed or pulse until everything is well combined and the sauce is thick.
- With the motor running, carefully pour in the oil and the sauce will become glossy and rich.
- To warm the sauce through, pour into a small pan over a low heat and warm but do not let it simmer or boil. Alternatively, pour into a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water for a few minutes.
- Serve warm over steamed asparagus or roasted vegetables. Also tastes delicious cold.