Asparagus and Kale Salad

Sometimes I get tired of salad for a few months and avoid it like the plague, and then I eat a salad like this that blows my mind and I’m back on the salad wagon!! I was craving greens and found this recipe in my Avant-Garde Vegan Cookbook. I very slightly modified it based on convenience but found it utterly refreshing, exciting, and flavorsome!

I implore you not to skip the fresh mint and the dill. It’s what takes this salad up to the next level of flavor town. It’s much more exciting than your average salad-in-a-bag taste, and it’s a beautiful thing.

The asparagus and kale are just quickly blanched to bring out that bright green color and the perfect amount of crispness, and the dressing is Caesar-esque but bolder and vegan. I don’t know if I’ve ever raved so much about a salad…. just trust me and make it!

Credit to the Avant-Garde vegan for this recipe, except for a few very minor alterations:

1 bunch asparagus
Big handful of kale, de-stemmed and shredded
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices crusty bread, cut into triangles (we used a stale baguette)
Big handful of spring mix or lettuce of choice
2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp fresh dill leaves
fake bacon bits, optional (I pan fried and then finely chopped very thin slices of a veggie dog)

for the dressing:
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 Tbsp capers, finely minced
4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise of choice
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Prep asparagus by chopping of the bottom 1 1/2 inches of each spear. Fill a big bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring a large saucepan to a rolling boil. Add asparagus spears for 30 seconds, then add frozen peas and kale for an additional 30 seconds. Quickly remove from the water and submerge in the ice water to stop the cooking. Once the vegetables are cold, drain and set aside. Separate the asparagus spears from the kale and peas.

For the dressing, mix all of the ingredients together in a measuring cup with a spout. Test for taste and add more salt or lemon juice until you get the right balance. If it is too thick that you can’t pour it, add a few drops of water at a time until it is still thick but pour-able.

Heat a large skillet or griddle pan over high heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the bread slices and allow to get golden brown on both sides.

To assemble, place kale and peas, spring mix, mint, and dill leaves in a large bowl. Add a little less than half of the dressing and toss to coat. On two plates, evenly split the salad mixture, the asparagus spears, the fake bacon bits if using, and the grilled bread slices. Add another drizzle of dressing over the asparagus spears if desired and serve.

Serves 2

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