Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chili Almond Asparagus

Asparagus season has finally reached NJ! To celebrate the first of the local crop, I decided to make my favorite recipe.

I got this recipe off of a vegan blog. I have a great deal of respect for vegetarians and vegans - I think that they are necessarily better cooks than us carnivores. You need to be creative to bring a satisfying vegan or vegetarian meal to the table. Think about it - if you're eating a juicy burger, you might not mind a bit of bland steamed broccoli on the side. But if that broccoli is your main dish, you're going to want something a bit more exciting. At least, I would.

This dish does not lack for exciting. Crunchy almonds, zesty lemon and zingy red pepper flakes over beautiful roasted veggies. It's the perfect accompaniment to that juicy burger (which is exactly what we served it with, for a lovely spring dinner on our deck).

Note: I crowded everything onto a too-small baking sheet. If you want more browning, the veggies will need to be spread out a bit more.

 Chili Almond Asparagus
Slightly adapted from Vegan Yum Yum.
1/4 c sliced almonds, roughly crushed
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb asparagus spears (I prefer the skinny kind for this recipe - if you use thicker spears, you may need to roast a bit longer)
3-4 carrots (I used 7, which was too many for my pan, but I was trying to use them up. You can peel the carrots if you'd like - I didn't bother)
2 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 lemon (juice and zest)

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Crush the bouillon cube with a mortar and pestle. Mix with half the crushed almonds and the red pepper flakes. Trim the carrots to the length of the asparagus (if possible - mine were far too short for that) and cut lengthwise into thin, flexible pieces. Trim the asparagus ends, if necessary. In a large bowl, toss the carrots and asparagus with the oils. Add the seasonings and toss to coat.

Arrange the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 5 minutes, then broil until just browned. Top with remaining almonds, lemon zest and lemon juice to serve.

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