Over time I have come to love asparagus more and more. Not only are they interesting looking, with great texture, but when cooked/prepared the right way, paired with the right flavors, asparagus can even be a main dish. My kids love eating asparagus but will only eat the top part- of course! but hey, as long as they are eating it I guess that’s ok by me.
After I got over the blanching phase with my veggies, I started roasting/baking them. You use olive oil but you don’t have to drown them in it (and you shouldn’t). Here are two ways you can prepare your asparagus:
1) Blanching: helps seal in the color, flavor and nutrients of the vegetables. (Green vegetables turn a wonderful bright green when blanched). Directions below.
2) Roasting or baking: The process of roasting brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables and intensifies their natural flavors. For people who are diet-conscious, roasted vegetables add wonderful flavors to dishes without a lot of fat and calories! Don’t go overboard with the oil! Read more about roasting vegetables here. (WedMD!)
For this recipe, I roasted my asparagus. It takes a little longer, but I prefer the crispness and flavor more when roasting. I also love to drown my asparagus with toppings and sauce (I may have gone a little overboard in the photos). . This recipe is so DELICIOUS. You must try this. I also love that it looks really messy but tastes divine. Thank you, Natalie Lewis (The Daily Crave) for the original recipe. We ate this last night with dinner and I had the left overs for lunch today; still tasted wonderful.
Balsamic Asparagus with Feta Cheese & Toasted Walnuts
- One bunch Asparagus
- About 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup of Feta Cheese
- ½ to 1 cup chopped, canned tomatoes (heated or sauteed)
- ½ cup roasted red bell pepper (optional); chopped
- ¼ cup toasted Walnuts
- 2-3 tbs good quality Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Trim the bottoms of your asparagus, lay them on a cookie sheet (covered with foil) and drizzle the olive oil over them. Remember: don't go crazy with the olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper
- Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes (no longer than 20 min)
- If you'd rather blanch your asparagus, see recipe & directions below
- I used canned tomatoes because the skin is already removed. Trader Joe's sells seasoned diced canned tomatoes. I heated these (with the tomato sauce) in a pan on the stove and added some balsamic vinegar in there too.
- Once the asparagus is finished, remove them from the pan, place on serving plate and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and other ingredients (tomatoes, walnuts and feta), season with salt and pepper as desired and serve.