Spring has sprung and greens are growing! The best way to celebrate the season of new life is with a light and refreshing salad! Asparagus, Beet, & Grapefruit Salad is a celebration of this time of year!
Is there anything better than the days getting longer? I don’t know about you, but leaving for work when it’s dark and returning home when it’s dark makes for some seriously gloomy feelings. I am infatuated with this season’s sunshine and green grass and tulips. The thought of farmers markets starting back up again soon gets me giddy like a little [hippy] schoolgirl.
Even though it’s not quite CSA season yet, the greens in the grocery store are starting to look perkier and fresher everyday! I was particularly taken with the asparagus last week and have loved incorporating it into this salad. Since it’s the first of the season, it was a bit woody and fibrous and a little tough to chew. By using a vegetable peeler to peel the stringy parts of the stalk off, the veggie becomes much more tender and succulent.
New things are sprouting up in my kitchen too! It had been forever since I’d grown sprouts and I forgot how much I love it. Remember when you were a kid and you grew a bean in a Ziploc bag with a wet paper towel? Anyone? Well, growing sprouts is like the grown-up, on-steroids version of that. You just dump some seeds in a jar, soak them over night, then drain and rinse them every day. I kill 99% of plants I come into contact with, but sprouts I can handle. I picked my seeds up at Lucky’s, of course.
This salad has plenty of protein on its own, but if you want to beef (the irony…) it up a little, some chickpeas or green peas would be a nice add. I heard a great stat about plant-based protein in a new documentary I watched recently. First, the documentary is called What the Health and you absolutely should watch it. Second, they shared that even if the ONLY thing you ate all day was broccoli and rice, and you ate a full 2000 calories worth, you’d still get 60 grams of protein. So, can we put the “where do you get your protein?” conversation to rest or what? Thanks.
Alright, enough soap boxing for me today. Go forth and eat plants, fam.
- 1 lb. asparagus, ends peeled if needed
- 3-4 beets
- 2 small grapefruits, segmented
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup fresh mint
- 1 avocado, diced
- Sprouts, any variety
- 1 small red onion, pickled*
- Extra juice from grapefruits (about 2-3 Tbs.)
- Zest of one grapefruit
- 1 Tbs. molasses
- 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. olive oil (optional)
- 1 tsp. za’atar
- 1 tsp. salt
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Wet the beets slightly, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap them in foil. Bake for 35 minutes, until just soft. Allow them to cool then slice into 1/8” rounds.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil and add asparagus. Blanch for about 3 minutes, then remove the stalks to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, slice on the bias into bite-sized (about 1”) pieces.
- When segmenting the grapefruit, hold the fruit over a small bowl to collect extra juice. Squeeze the leftover pulp to extract as much as possible. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and whisk well to combine.
- Assemble the salad by layering in the greens, followed by the beets, grapefruit, onions, and avocado. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
You can just use raw red onions for this if you prefer. Otherwise, pickle the onion by slicing it thin and placing it in a jar with 1 cup water, ½ cup vinegar, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbs. sugar and shake to combine. Let sit 30 minutes or overnight. Keep refrigerated for about a month.