A spring vegan asparagus salad, hearty enough for a meal, loaded with asparagus, potatoes, lentils, radishes, sugar snap peas, and mint – all dressed with a bright lemon vinaigrette.
Spring wakes slowly here in the mountains. After relishing the explosion of spring for decades outside San Francisco, I’m adjusting to a more tentative, gentle springing forth. Full confession: it’s painful. I see four fuzzy buds one day on a bush when walking Paprika, and the next day another two gather up their nerve to step out and join them. We’re now only up to SIX buds? And then another day of snow flurries. Seriously?
Some days, I want to speed it along by tugging on the slowly unfurling leaves, like a magician who pulls long colorful scarfs from his (or her) sleeve. I try to settle myself into a new tempo, to appreciate the opportunity of witnessing nature slowly awaken after a long cold slumber. To sink myself into the extra time to think, and just enjoy where I am, instead of hungering for a future that hasn’t shown up yet.
And I get it. I do. It’s much the same when adjusting to a new home after creating a full life somewhere else. It’s all about navigating a time of transition, being brave enough to get out into a new world, having patience and trust that it will all work out, and then slowly opening up.
And spring brings long legs of asparagus, one of my favorite vegetables.
I steam it, roast it, sauté it, purée it, and eat it raw. I add it to quiche, risotto, pasta, casseroles, and make it a salad star, as in this dish.
Cook Like a Chef
Be sure to use lentils that hold their shape well when cooked. Green lentils, such as French Green Lentils, or black beluga lentils are excellent choices. Here’s a link to some products – as a note this blog is an Amazon affliate and makes a few pennies from your clicks and purchases at no extra cost to you. This provides support to maintaining this blog for you!
A small steamer basket is incredibly useful for so many recipes. I just store mine inside one of my pots. There are collapsable ones, but I confess I still use the folding kind shown below. I’m a fan of OXO products for easy grips, and use this one with the handle.
Cook your lentils in broth for a little more flavor. Sometimes I add a dried pepper, or some garlic too.
Asparagus, Potato, and Lentil Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Springtime salad gently modified from this one on the Green Kitchen Stories, that's easily a meal. Be sure to use lentils that hold their shape well during cooking, and don't over-toss this salad. Otherwise the potatoes will begin to break up and become mushy.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
- 1 pound small potatoes or fingerlings
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed and sliced into 1
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
- 5 - 6 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint
- 1 /2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste, or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
If you don't have them on hand, cook up the lentils while you make the rest of the salad. When cooking lentils, use a 3 to 1 ration of water to dried lentils. So, 1 cup of lentils will require 3 cups of water or broth. All lentils are quick cooking, but differ between different kinds of lentils. I used French green lentils, which need to simmer around 40 minutes, but hold their shape beautifully.
Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add the potatoes, and cook until tender when penetrated with a sharp knife. This can be anywhere from 10 - 20 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. Remove the potatoes using a spoon, and pour out enough water to insert a steamer basket. Allow the potatoes to cool and slice in half or quarters, depending on their size. Place in a bowl with the snap peas, radishes, mint, salt and pepper.
Place a steamer basket into the same pot used for cooking the potatoes, and fill it with the asparagus. Steam until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl with the potatoes.
Pour one-half of the vinaigrette over the vegetables and very gently toss, using a large metal spoon. Let sit for 10 minutes to absorb some of the dressing, and pour additional dressing - according to your own preference - over the salad before serving.
Use lentils that hold their shape well when cooked. Examples are green lentils and beluga black lentils.
For the Wimpy Vegetarian Table: Toss in some roasted salmon when you add the asparagus.