Asparagus and Sea Buckthorn Berry Salad
With spring right around the corner, I am excited to trade in my warm soups and stews for something a little lighter. I always find it easier to pack in the nutrients to a comforting bowl of soup, but it is more of a challenge to create a satisfying salad.
I always love salads when I go out to a nice restaurant. I don’t know why it is much more difficult to recreate at home. I think it comes down to having a variety of ingredients available and knowing what goes well with what. I do not want a boring salad, I also do not want a salad that is a entrée thrown on top of lettuce. There is definitely an art to creating the perfect salad, and this is a skill I am working on!
This spring I want to focus on finding ways to create a balanced meal out of an entrée salad. I love a refreshing salad and want to create an array of dishes that are light yet nourishing to my body. The key to a good salad is finding ingredients that combine well together. I am also focused on creating a meal that will naturally balance my health hormones and be full of flavor. My salad must have protein, fiber, healthy fats and lots of greens!
Protein doesn’t need to be meat. In fact, I rely entirely on plants for my protein. For this salad, I chose garden peas for protein, they are also a great source of fiber! I love the texture as well as the taste of couscous, it’s great to add variety to your salad. There are many other veggies in this salad that also add fiber. The extra virgin olive oil is a healthy source of fat. Remember, our bodies need nutritious fats for energy and to allow protein to do its job properly. Adding greens to your salad is kind of a no-brainer, I always make sure to have plenty of greens on hand.
The great thing about a salad is that it makes for a great leftover. I like to repurpose my leftover salad into an open-face sandwich or as a side dish for my next meal. If I know that I am going to have leftovers, I make sure to lightly dress it or not mix in the dressing.
I love this salad I came up with, it only took 15 minutes to prepare all the veggies and the couscous boils in no time. I combined the crunchy, easy to cook asparagus with chestnut mushrooms, but you can use any other mushrooms you like. You can also substitute out the mushrooms for something completely different as well.
The couscous is a bit sweet and so are the green peas. They balance out the sharp taste of the asparagus and sea buckthorn berries. To neutralize the strong flavor of asparagus, I cooked it with lemon and herbs, also making it easier to digest.
I am learning that it is great to add variety to salads. Mixing fruits and vegetables is exciting, especially when you find a pairing that works well! The sea buckthorn berries are a great addition to this salad. They bring a tangy taste and also add a nutritional kick. Sea buckthorn has an impressive nutritional profile that fortifies the entire body. With 14 essential vitamins, omega 3, 6, 9 and the rare omega 7, sea buckthorn is supercharged with antioxidants, hundreds of other nutrients and anti inflammatory properties.
I usually make my salads to be served right away, but they can also be stored in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy!
Prep. time: 20 mins.
Total time: 40 mins.
Plant based, Vegan, Free from refined sugar, Gluten-free option included
1 cup couscous (for a Gluten-Free version, substitute with 1 cup of millet or quinoa grains)
1 cup water
5 stalks asparagus
5 tbsp marinated radishes
4 spring onion leaves
2 cup garden peas
2 cups mushrooms
juice from 1 lemon
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
dried or fresh basil to taste
2 tbsp of Erbology Organic Sea buckthorn Dried Berries
Here’s how you do it:
Cook the couscous using a 1:1 ratio of couscous to water. If you go for the Gluten-free version, same ratio its applied to the millet. Quinoa needs 2 cups of water for 1 cup of grain. First, bring the water to a boil. Once at a boil, add a pinch of salt and your preferred grain. Reduce the heat and stir continuously until all the water is absorbed. Once absorbed, cover with a lid and leave for 10 min or until couscous is at desired firmness.
Prepare the veggies by washing the asparagus and green peas and cutting the asparagus in medium or large pieces.
Put the sliced radishes in a small bowl, add a good sprinkle of sea salt and 2 tbsp of lemon juice. Mix with a fork and leave to marinate on the counter. They will be ready in about 10 minutes.
Add extra virgin olive oil to a pan over medium heat.
Once heated, add the green peas and sautée for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chopped asparagus, salt (to taste), dry basil and lemon juice. Only leave over heat for 3-4 minutes. If you sautée asparagus for too long, it loses its color and flavor. It can also lose its crunchiness when overcooked!
Dice the spring onions and put aside.
In the same pan, heat another teaspoon of olive oil and sautée the chopped mushrooms. Add salt and cook for about 5 minutes until the water evaporates.
In a bowl add the couscous, fresh and sautéed veggies, the mushrooms and also, the marinated radishes. Add the olive oil and mix well.
Serve with a sprinkle of sea buckthorn dried berries and enjoy!