New potato, asparagus and spinach salad

Sometimes, the simple things are the best, particularly when it comes to food. Fresh, undiluted and natural flavours beat anything that’s been highly processed or manufactured. And of course, nutritionally speaking, whole and complete provides a wonderful range of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients that our bodies need, not just to stay healthy, but to positively glow with energy and vitality.

As a family, the main Sunday meal is treated as a bit of an occasion in our house, sometimes the only time we all get to sit down and eat together. In winter, it tends to be a plant-based roast or stew of some kind, summer a BBQ.  This weekend, though, has been a bit different, with parties and meals out for all, so that by the time it came to Sunday, most of us were a bit overfed, and the fridge was looking rather forlorn! So rather than go grand, we had this beautifully simple but wonderfully delicious salad, light enough to sooth the overfed, and filling enough to satisfy a giant boy’s hunger!

New potatoes have been coming in our veg box for a couple of weeks now; organic new potatoes really are the best and have an actual flavour, unlike many mass produced potatoes that are bland and unrewarding on the taste front. Dieters tend to avoid the lowly spud, but when boiled or steamed and served without lashing of butter they are pretty good for you, with a hefty amount of vitamin B6 which is involved in many cell activities and enzymes, and plays a particular roles in keeping the nervous system and heart healthy. Potatoes also contain good amounts of potassium and vitamin C, as well as other phytonutrients, some of which are only just being discovered. And of course, potatoes (unadorned with fat or fried) are a good source of fibre, essential for a healthy gut. Keeping the skins on potatoes, particularly easy with new ones, maximises the nutrient content, as most are stored in or just under the skin, which is why organic is better so pesticide residues are minimised.

I love the dressing on this salad, as I used a vinegar I made a few weeks ago whilst on a foraging course. The day was so much fun, and I learnt loads about spring flowers, leaves and shoots that can be freely eaten; some of the flavours were incredible, particularly the flowers of wild garlic that have an incredibly intense garlic flavour and the strong wasabi-like taste of  leaves of the pretty pink cuckoo flower. My vinegar had wild garlic and ground ivy infused into it, and tastes beautiful, making the salad dressing particularly gorgeous.

We ate these with baked vegetable and bean patties served in a large lettuce leave; recipe to come soon. The salad can stand alone as a lunch or complete supper, so why not give it a go – it doesn’t have to be a Sunday, any day will do!

New potato, asparagus and spinach salad
450g new potatoes
150g baby spinach
1 bunch asparagus
2 large vine ripened tomatoes
handful pumpkin seeds
handful fresh parsley
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (flavoured if you have it)
salt and pepper
Boil or steam the potatoes until tender, drain and leave to cool. Steam asparagus and leave to cool. Chop potato and tomatoes into bite sized pieces, slice asparagus length ways and put into a bowl with the spinach, mixing together with your hands so everything is combined. Pour over the dressing, mix again then garnish with seeds and parsley and season to taste. Enjoy!

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