Foodie Friday: Spring Dishes

Roasted Asparagus, Tomato & Feta Couscous
Via Chelsea's Messy Apron

The weather may not be cooperating, but it's spring!  The best part of the season is the new fresh produce available for our nourishment and pleasure.  We've found some great recipes for spring dishes for you to try out.  Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus, Tomato, & Feta Couscous
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:17 mins
Total Time:32 mins
Servings: 6 as a side salad
Author: Chelsea

1 bunch fresh asparagus
Salt and pepper
1 fresh lemon
1 package (5.8 ounces) Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous (I buy the Near East mix, you can substitute 1 cup plain cooked couscous)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 of 1 container (10.5 ounces) ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Break off the woody ends of the asparagus. Toss the asparagus, 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste) together on a large sheet pan. 

Bake in the oven for 12-17 minutes (depending on the asparagus thickness), flipping the spears once halfway into the cooking time. Remove and squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice over the spears. Allow to cool and chop into 2-inch pieces.

Meanwhile, prepare the packaged couscous according to package directions. Allow to cool.

While the asparagus is cooking, prepare the dressing. Pour the vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce until the vinegar is halved (about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons). Allow to slightly cool and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, dijon mustard, and honey. Briskly whisk and season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste).

Halve the cherry tomatoes.

Add the cooled couscous, cooled chopped asparagus, and cherry tomatoes to a large bowl. Lightly toss. Add dressing to taste and another fresh squeeze of lemon if desired. Lightly toss again and then top with the crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy immediately.

If you don't plan on eating all of the salad, only dress what you will eat (this salad doesn't sit well with the dressing for an extended time).

Recipe inspired by my Mom’s Easter side salad which she got from AllRecipes.

Springtime Mixed Berry Salad
Via Aberdeen's Kitchen

Springtime Mixed Berry Salad 
Author: Aberdeen's Kitchen  
Prep Time: 10 mins 
Total Time: 10 mins  
Yield: 4-6

14 oz pack of mixed baby spring greens (spinach, arugula, lettuces, chard, radicchio)
8 oz strawberries, cored and sliced thin
8 oz blackberries
1/2 cup gold raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
Dash of salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, toss mixed greens, strawberries, blackberries, and raisins together. Set aside.
Make the dressing: In a small mixing bowl, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk vigorously until completely combined.
Pour about half of the dressing over the salad mixture and toss to combine.
Sprinkle almonds and feta on top and drizzle with the rest of the dressing. Serve immediately.

Lemony Spring Pasta Salad
Via The Mostly Vegan

Lemony Spring Pasta Salad
Serves 4.
Author: The Mostly Vegan
3 cups dried whole wheat farfalle
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 bunch broccolini (about 8 ounces), chopped
1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
6 cloves garlic, skins removed but left whole
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or garlic oil), divided
2 lemons
red pepper flakes
sea salt & black peper
parmesan cheese or cashew parmesan for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions, about 9 minutes for al dente pasta.

While the pasta cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, broccolini and asparagus to pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until veggies just begin to brown. Add peas, corn, and tomatoes to pan. Season generously with sea salt, black pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook about 2 minutes more.

Drain pasta and add to pan with the veggies. Lower heat to medium and toss with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
Discard garlic cloves and use a microplaner to zest one lemon directly over pasta. Toss to thoroughly mix in lemon zest. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed and zest of remaining lemon if you like a stronger lemon flavor (I always add the zest of 2 whole lemons).

Serve warm, sprinkled with parmesan cheese or cashew parmesan.

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