Nothing announces the arrival of spring like crisp, fresh asparagus. As a perennial plant and a member of the lily family which also includes onions, leeks and garlic, asparagus spears can grow up to 10 inches per day under ideal conditions.
The larger the diameter, the better the quality so look for firm stalks with closed tips and store your asparagus in the fridge with the ends wrapped in a damp paper or cloth towel. Raw, steamed, blanched, sautéed or roasted, consume your asparagus within 48 hours of purchase.
While these fleshy spears are valued for their tender texture and succulent taste, asparagus also packs quite a nutritional punch. It's loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals, is extremely low in calories at about 20 per serving (five spears), has no fat, and is low in sodium.
Check out these three health benefits of eating asparagus!
Asparagus Mushroom Tart
To encourage you to add more of this succulent spring vegetable to your diet, I came up with this tasty little tart recipe! Ideal for brunch, lunch or a light supper with a side salad, I recommend doubling the recipe.
Makes one large or two smaller sized tarts.
1/2 package of vegan puff pastry
1 Tbsp vegan margarine
1 small onion, minced
1/2 pound of asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces with 3-4 left long for garnishing the top of the tart
8-10 mushrooms, sliced some reserved for decorating the top of the tart
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp herbes de Provence
3 Tbsp. dry white wine
1/2 package of Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese
1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll out puff pastry to a size to fit your tart pan. Spray your tart pan with a little non-stick spray. Lay your puff pastry in the tart pan and tuck in the edges.
Add margarine to a preheated non-stick frying pan. Add onion, chopped mushrooms, asparagus, garlic and herbs de Provence and sauté on medium heat until the vegetables soften (about 10 minutes). Deglaze the pan by adding wine and mixing well until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Turn the heat down to low and add Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese and salt. Mix well and remove from heat.
Spread your cheese mixture into the puff pastry shell and garnish with reserved asparagus spears cut in half lengthwise and mushroom slices.
Brush the top of pastry and tart with a bit of melted margarine and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
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