Spring Asparagus Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette, and Spring Greens Smoothie

Everyone’s a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. When our kids were small, I’d dial up the shenanigans and make wee little leprechaun traps using green produce baskets baited with gold chocolate coins. I’d put a teeny drop of green food coloring in our drinks, and could easily convince them to eat extra green veggies just because they were shamrock shaded. I delighted in the mischievous fun of it, making a trail with gold glitter and toppling over their chairs at the breakfast table, all because the leprechaun’s had paid us a visit while they were sleeping, of course.  

On St. Patrick’s Day, green is everywhere. Why not go green with your meals, too? Start the day with a Spring Greens Smoothie. Packed with baby greens spinach, kale, and chard, it has yogurt, milk and peanut butter for protein, plus some natural sweetness from banana. It’s creamy and delicious, and loaded with things that are good for you, but very quick and easy to make. Feel free to use just one type of green, or swap in 1 cup of plain kefir instead of using yogurt and milk. You can also make it dairy-free by using your choice of plant-based alternatives.

For lunch or dinner, add something fresh and green. This Spring Asparagus Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette is crisp and vibrant. Featuring a mix of greens dressed with a full-bodied vinaigrette, it’s a light salad. But with the addition of asparagus, egg, and Parmesan cheese, it’s a bit hearty, too. Tossing the eggs gently into the finished salad breaks the yolks down a bit, emulsifying them Caesar salad-like into the greens and dressing. It adds oomph to every forkful, and it’s delicious. Buy a prepackaged mix of frisée, endive, and mizuna or arugula, or pick a few greens and blend your own.  

I used sherry vinegar in my vinaigrette, but you could also use other vinegars like white wine, apple cider, rice wine, or red wine if you don’t have champagne vinegar. Rather than mixing all of the oil into the vinaigrette, I like to add the olive oil to my dressing right before I toss my salad. Doing so lets me control the ratio of oil to acid in any given salad, and I also find it quicker to mix, given that the oil hasn’t solidified under refrigeration. To do this, I mix all of the other ingredients – the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and salt – into a 16 ounce ounce lidded canning jar that I keep in my crisper drawer. You can then pour a bit of this directly over your salad and loosely drizzle in some olive oil, or pour some of it into a small bowl and whisk your desired amount of olive oil into the dressing. Either way, your dressing base will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days. 

Your hands are the best kitchen tool you have. Use them here to break your eggs into irregular chunks, which will save you from having to chop them and also shave a bit off your cleanup time. You can also use your hands to mix the salad, which really is the best way. As always, remember to use scrupulously clean hands, or if going bare handed into food makes you uneasy (raises hand here), go ahead and don those food handler gloves. 

Eat green and stir up some shenanigans of your own. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Spring Asparagus Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

mustard vinaigrette (makes 1½ cups)

  • 1/2 cup cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

asparagus salad

  • 2 bunches green asparagus
  • 1 cup frisée, endive, mizuna or arugula
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 pound chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or pre-grated Parmesan
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 ounce mustard vinaigrette 

for mustard vinaigrette:

Combine lemon juice, vinegar, kosher salt, and Dijon mustard. Stream in oil, whisking vigorously to emulsify. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

for asparagus salad:

Trim and blanch asparagus, then cut stalks on the bias into 2-inch lengths. Combine asparagus, greens and tarragon in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the grated Parmesan cheese, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Working directly over the top of the mixing bowl, use clean hands to break eggs into bite-sized pieces, letting the pieces fall into the salad. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette and thoroughly mix the salad, adding more dressing as needed. Mound salad onto center of plate or serving platter and top with shaved Parmesan.

-adapted from recipe by Amanda Freitag

Spring Greens Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup milk, plus more as needed 
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 cup power greens (baby kale, baby chard, baby spinach) 
  • 1 frozen banana
  • honey to taste (optional)

Add yogurt, low-fat milk, peanut butter, greens and banana to blender cup and blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed. Taste and adjust sweetness with honey, if desired. 

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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