Grateful Asparagus fights Inflammation : A Super Veggie

Learn how the Health benefits of asparagus and eating veggies that are anti inflammatory can help your pain
Yes, eating asparagus does make your pee smell.

 But once you get past that, there are so many great reasons to fill your plate with more of this superfood. This bright green delicious veggie is packed with  vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber. 
Packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, asparagus has been used as a medicinal vegetable for 2,500 years. The list of asparagus nutritional benefits is long, for it helps your heart, digestion, maintaining good eyesight , bones and even your cells

What does asparagus taste like? Asparagus has a distinct flavor that pairs well with garlic, lemon, olive oil and vinegar. If young, the spears are tender and have a mild flavor. If mature, asparagus has a strong, bitter flavor and a hard, woody texture which might spoil one’s culinary experience

How to choose good asparagus?
When choosing asparagus, looks are quite important because they offer you important information about the quality of the vegetable. Always look for straight, firm stems of a bright green color. Make sure the tops have tightly-wrapped leaves and have not flowered. Purple smudges on the tip are a good indicator of quality. This goes for all fruits and vegetables: you might want to avoid wilted, bruised or mushy plants.

I love asparagus. It has the most amazing flavor when roasted, and is even delicious raw! Plus, it’s good for you. Time to get more green in your life

Recipes 

Vegan Creamy Pasta with Asparagus & Lemon

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus (12 ounces), trimmed and washed

Sea salt and black pepper

2 lemons

Olive oil

3-4 large cloves garlic, minced (~2 Tbsp)

10 ounces (~5 cups) bow tie pasta (see notes if GF*)

2.5 cups unsweetened plain almond milk

3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour (sub another thickener if GF*)

1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (for a subtle cheesy flavor | optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add asparagus to a baking sheet and toss with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Top with several thin slices of lemon and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once finished cooking, remove from oven and roughly chop into thirds.

In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously.

While the water’s heating, bring a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add 3 Tbsp olive oil and garlic. Whisk and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is just starting to brown.

Add 3 Tbsp flour and whisk. Cook for 30 seconds, then whisk in almond milk 1/2 cup at a time. TIP: Use a large flat spatula to smash down the bits of garlic and flour to properly incorporate. Add a healthy pinch salt and pepper and whisk. Slightly lower heat and continue cooking to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Then drain and set aside.

For extra creamy sauce, add sauce to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend. Add nutritional yeast and another pinch of salt and pepper. If it looks runny, add another Tablespoon of flour (or cornstarch). Blend until creamy and smooth, using the “puree” or “liquify” setting if possible. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then add back to pan and continue cooking over medium to medium-low heat to thicken.

Once your sauce has reached desired thickness, add the juice of half a lemon and stir.

Add 3/4 of the chopped asparagus and the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.

Divide between 2-3 serving plates and top with remaining asparagus. Serve with a lemon wedge and vegan parmesan cheese.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a few days.

Notes

* To keep this recipe gluten free, use gluten free pasta and sub the flour with cornstarch or another thickener of choice. Add 1-2 Tbsp during the blending process to make sure it’s completely blended. Then add back to the pan to thicken for 5 minutes. Alternatively, make a slurry with the cornstarch and a few Tbsp of the sauce in a small bowl and then whisk it directly into the pan during the simmering process. Repeat in 1/2 Tbsp amounts until desired consistency is reached.

*If not vegan, sub cow’s milk and parmesan cheese. 

*You can also add grilled chicken. I’ve made both ways and they are delicious 


Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Penne Pasta
Ingredients

8 ounces penne pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 to 2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups (about 9 ounces) cherry tomatoes

1 cup shelled fresh peas

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or vegan veggie stock

1 cup grated Parmesan see note below for vegan substitute

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus, season with the salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the stock is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Toss well, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and chopped basil.
*vegan version use nutritional yeast

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