Spring Asparagus Salad with Israeli Couscous, roasted asparagus, kalamata olives, pine nuts, feta, lemon zest and mint with a lemony dressing.
When trimming asparagus, hold a piece in your hand and break off the bottom end with your fingers. Where ever this naturally breaks, is how much you want to trim off the rest of the asparagus. Sometimes this can be painful, because it can be 2 to 3 inches of stem that doesn’t get used, but those ends will most likely be very woody and chewy.
Roasting asparagus is one of the easiest, tastiest ways to prepare it, second to grilling. Toss the spears with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon zest and place in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes ( depending on how thick the spears are) and when they come out, they will be crisp and delicious. Sometimes I’ll drizzle in a little balsamic vinegar as well.
While the cous cous is cooking, make the simple dressing.
Spring Asparagus Salad
Spring Asparagus Salad with Israeli Cous Cous ( or use a grain!) kalamata olives, feta, lemon zest and mint!
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4-6
- Category: Entree Salad
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- 1- 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cups dry Israeli Cous Cous (uncooked) or use orzo, quinoa or regular cous cous ( about 4-5 cups cooked)
- ½ Cup kalamata olives ( pitted, sliced)
- ½ Cup feta cheese
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
- ½ cup mint, basil, dill, or Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 scallions, sliced at a diagonal
- Zest from one lemon ( divided)
- ⅓ C olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 2 Tablespoon Red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 425 F oven.
- Trim the tough ends of the asparagus off. Lay them on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1-2 T olive oil, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and cracked pepper, and half of the lemon zest. Roast in the oven until just tender, about 20-25 minutes. Cut into bite size pieces. (Alternatively, for faster preparation, blanch bite size pieces of asparagus, along with the cous cous, during the last 2 minutes of the cous cous’s cooking time.)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 2 cups Israeli Cous Cous, and cook until al dente.
- While cous cous is cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl, stir all ingredients together.
- Drain cous cous, and place in a large bowl. Toss it with the dressing, olives, asparagus, feta, pine nuts, fresh herbs and lemon zest. Serve warm, or chill and serve as a salad.
You want 4 1/2 cups of cooked pasta or grain.