So far we’ve been harvesting single servings of asparagus from the garden. My husband got the first serving, and I got the second. He’s a much bigger asparagus fan than me so I thought that was only fair.
It’s coming up slowly, but I’m not going to complain because it’s a bit early for asparagus anyway. I’ll take the slow arrival as a trade off for having it so early. It must have known how desperate I was to get the garden going this year. Despite the warm winter, I still felt like I’d been cooped up inside for way too long.
This week I did manage to collect enough asparagus to make a salad, and this got me thinking about some black lentils in the pantry. It goes without saying; we are still in clean out mode. It’s amazing how much you can stuff into a small pantry when you are as obsessed with grains and legumes as I am.
The tang of the balsamic vinegar in the dressing for this salad adds a good balance to the asparagus that has turned sweet from roasting. I rounded up all the asparagus I could, but if you have more, add it. It only makes this salad better.
Black Lentil Salad with Roasted Asparagus
¼ cup white onion, finely diced
1 cup dried black lentils
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
½ to 1 lb asparagus, roasted or grilled
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp mascavo sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the onion in a bowl of ice water and allow it to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad. This will draw some heat out of the onions. If your onions are already sweet, you can skip this step.
In a sauce pan, add the lentils and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 20-25 minutes. You want the lentils to be slightly firm for a salad. Drain and rinse with cold water until cooled. Pour into a mixing bowl.
Drain the onion. Add the chives and onion to the lentils. Chop the asparagus into ½ inch pieces and add to the lentils.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the lentils and toss to coat. Add more salt or pepper if desired. Serves 2-3 for a main, or 4 for a side. Note: To roast the asparagus, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until dark green, but still crisp.
Soon I’ll be looking for ideas to use up all our asparagus. What’s your favorite way to prepare it?
Lori Rice is a freelance writer, recipe developer, food photographer and nutritional scientist. Fake Food Free is a creative outlet that allows her to connect with people from around the world who share a love of travel, food culture and cooking.