By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
As we close out Family Meals month, let’s keep our eye on the prize – fresh family meals! Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your family meals will undoubtedly provide balanced nutrition needed for continued growth and development.
- Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants which are known to promote good health.
- Along with its great taste, asparagus is a good source of vitamin C, high in folate, and a good source of vitamin A.
5 Tips to Enjoying Asparagus
- Egg-cellent Asparagus. Add steamed pieces of asparagus to an egg white and feta cheese omelet. Finish with halved cherry tomatoes.
- Grilled. Place asparagus spears on a medium-high heat grill coated with olive oil spray and cook for about 5-8 minutes until tender, turning occasionally.
- Cheese, Crackers & Asparagus. Spread a soft cheese (goat cheese, brie, etc.) on whole wheat crackers and top with a crisp asparagus head. Serve as an appetizer or an afternoon snack.
- Steamed. Place fresh or frozen asparagus in a microwave-safe container or in a sauté pan with a small amount of water, low-sodium seasonings, and garlic. Enjoy as a side dish or snack.
- Shake & Bake! Place fresh asparagus in a plastic zip lock bag, drizzle with olive oil, and add salt, pepper and other seasonings. Shake until asparagus is coated, then bake in oven at 400°F until crisp!
Grilled Asparagus Pasta Salad
Prep: 25-30 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 bunch Asparagus, tough ends removed
- 3 roma tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1-inch slice red onion
- 2 tablespoons drained caper berries
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for grilling
- ½ teaspoon salt/freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- ¼ cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)
- Heat an oiled grill pan or grill on medium heat.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and add the orzo. Cook until just al dente according to package directions. Drain and lightly rinse. Place into a large bowl and set aside.
- Grill the asparagus spears, halved roma tomatoes and slice of onion until tender with a few char/grill marks. Remove from heat and chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, tomatoes into bite-size pieces and onion into a small dice.
- Add the vegetables into the bowl with the orzo. Whisk together the capers, lemon, Dijon, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to create a dressing, then toss with the vegetables and orzo. Add the herbs and toss again. Season to taste for salt and pepper.
Per serving: (1/4th recipe without cheese): 281 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 417mg sodium, 33g carbohydrates, 8g sugar, 5g fiber, 7g protein
Recipe & Photo: Alex Caspero, MA, RD, CLT with fruitsandveggies.org