Monday, June 8, 2009

Wasabi-roasted asparagus



In my quest to support local farmers and eat in season, I've found myself with an abundance of asparagus. Before I was vegan I hated asparagus. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I hated the thought of eating asparagus because I was so picky back then that I wouldn't even try a nibble. Yes, in those days I lived off thai chicken wings from Wings Up and cheese cappeletti from East Side Mario's (and stayed up at night wondering why I was gaining weight, and why my health was going down the pipe, for reals?) and the thought of eating one of these weird cigar-like contraptions was beyond me. What a little snot I was!

This year is the first time I tried asparagus. That I can recall, anyway. And low and behold - I liked it. This is why I silently chuckle every time someone says they can't be vegan because they would feel too limited .. I didn't lose anything by going vegan, I gained a whole new world of deliciousness that I wouldn't have even thought to try three years ago.

Anyway, we've been doing asparagus up every which way, since it is one of the first warm-weather crops to be in season here in Ontario. I've put it in lasagnas and pastas. We've grilled it on the bbq...and these here I roasted in the oven. Susan from Fat Free Vegan talked about smothering asparagus in soy and wasabi before throwing it in the oven. I didn't have her actual recipe on hand so I macgyvered my way through it a bit..a little soy sauce here, sesame oil there...and of course...wasabi and freshly ground pepper to finish it off. Twenty minutes in the oven and they made a great side to my green cashew pilaf the other night. Yum!

Eat Your Asparagus!
Asparagus promotes good heart health by virtue of its high levels of folate (66% of the daily recommended amount in one serving of asparagus). The folate also contributes to the prevention of birth defects (including neural tube defects like spina bifida) - folate is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the world and is particularly imperative for women of childbearing age and asparagus is an easy (and delicious) way to secure it in your diet. It is also a natural diuretic, due to its high amounts of potassium and low level of sodium combined with an active amino acid and has been used to treat many ailments related to swelling, such as arthritis and PMS (courtesy whfoods.com).

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