Strawberries and asparagus are in season right now and all the markets around our London neighborhood are booming with them. Strawberries have been a staple in our fridge for the past 2 weeks now as my son loves them, but I picked up this season’s first bunch of asparagus this week and wanted to try them in a salad – something I haven’t done before. The combination of asparagus and strawberries with honey balsamic and toasted almonds was great and something I will definitely serve up again on several occasions this summer. I love the mix of roasted & fresh veggies in a salad and always find that adding fruit is a great and easy way to perk it up and make it a little different.
Strawberries are such a summer food for me and the taste of them always reminds me of all the strawberry picking we used to do when we were kids and our garden was full of berries that needed to be picked before the birds got to them. I mean, nothing beats homegrown, right?! Sadly, city living rarely allows for homegrown veggie patches, which makes local green markets so great. But whether you buy your strawberries from the store or the green market they are one of those fruits that are especially important to clean since strawberries often contain the pesticide methyl bromide, which can disrupt our thyroid and impact our hormones and metabolism negatively. Even organic strawberries needs washing as these too have been found to be contaminated with this pesticide. I highly recommend this homemade fruit & vegetable spray, which I use on all my fresh produce and love. When washing berries or grapes, I usually spray them and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing them really well.
Aside from tasting like summer, strawberries pack some pretty amazing health benefits
Here are just a few…
- Strawberries contain anthocyanin, a flavenoid that protects against heart disease and can lower the risk of heart attack in women*. Go for ripe, deep colored strawberries. The deeper the color – the higher the flavenoid content.
- One cup of strawberries provides more than our daily need for vitamin C, which highlights just how potent they are in this nutrient. Vitamin C boosts our immune system, promote collagen production and healing of wounds and also functions as a powerful antioxidant.
- They are good for our dental health as they contain compounds that help fight the bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay, plaque formation & gum disease.
Asparagus are one of the best plant sources of folic acid, the B vitamin mostly known for its importance during pregnancy. But other than that, asparagus contains a wide array of good nutrients, especially when eaten “in season”.
- Asparagus are very high in vitamin C & vitamin A, both of which are potent antioxidants and help maintain and repair skin cells.
- They are very high in B vitamins, all of which are involved in energy production. Some of these B vitamins also promote heart health as they are key nutrients in regulating homocysteine, an amino acid that can contribute to cardiovascular complications when found in excess.
- An excellent source of anti-inflammatory vitamin K.
- Very rich in iron, which is key for healthy energy levels, fertility & healthy blood cells. Conveniently, vitamin C from the strawberries (and asparagus) helps boost the body’s absorption of iron, making this salad perfect for those who need to “up” their iron levels naturally!
- Lastly, asparagus pack a ton of phytonutrients, which are antioxidant rich compounds that help maintain and protect the health of our cells. They reduce signs of aging and protect our cells against cancer.
For best nutrition and freshness, make sure use asparagus within a day or two of purchasing. Storing them in the fridge with the ends wrapped in a wet tea towel is a great way to keep them fresh.
|Asparagus & Strawberry Summer Salad||
- 3 cups watercress
- 200 gm asparagus
- ½ tsp extra virgin coconut oil (cold pressed)
- 100 gm fresh strawberries
- ¼ cup (apx. 1 ounce) sliced raw almonds
- 1 ounce goat’s feta cheese
- cracked pepper (optional)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp garlic salt
- 2 tsp honey
- salt/pepper to taste
- Wash and cut the asparagus into big chunks.
- Melt ½ tsp coconut oil on a hot pan and roast asparagus for about 5 minutes until golden brown & tender. Set aside.
- On another hot pan, add the sliced almonds and roast for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
- Place watercress on a plate and dress with balsamic vinaigrette before adding the asparagus, strawberries and feta cheese. Sprinkle the roasted almonds on top.
* Source / American Heart Association