Asparagus Salad with Goats Cheese & Pomegranate

PREP TIME: 15mins

COOKING TIME: 20mins

Quick and easy vibrant salad to celebrate the arrival of spring!

Crunchy asparagus, creamy goats cheese and sweet & tangy pomegranates is a match made in flavour heaven.

Its September and the first bunches of asparagus signals the arrival of spring in the organic fields. As an organic and seasonal chef there is nothing more exciting than when my anticipation for new season veggies finally arrives. Its 100% worth the wait. Food grown and eaten in their natural growing season just tastes better.

I only ate my first true asparagus (white canned doesn’t count) when I was 18! It was at La Madeleine in Pretoria and it has been a love affair since.

Pomegranate molasses is a Middle Eastern seasoning consisting of concentrated pomegranate juice. It is usually used in fish and meat dishes, and also as a replacement for vinegar in salads. Its delicious mix between sweet and tart makes it addictive. I love it over ice-cream!

Serves 4 as a side salad or 2 as a main salad

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 small bunches asparagus, woody ends snapped off, halved lengthways
  • small chèvre style goats cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 40g watercress

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water until tender. The white tails will be visible and all the water should be evaporated. Season with olive oil, salt, lemon zest and a squeeze of juice.
  2. Bring a large saucepan with water to the boil, season with salt, cook the asparagus in batches until al dente (more crunch than soft is my preference), about 2 minutes depending on the thickness of your spears. Immediately add the asparagus to a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. This is such a good way to keep the colour, texture and nutrients of the asparagus. You can either keep the asparagus whole or chop into bite sized pieces.
  3. For the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jar and shake well, taste and balance the seasoning to your taste.
  4. To serve the salad, add half the quinoa, add some dressing, goats cheese and pomegranate seeds, now add the rest of the quinoa, add more dressing and toss well. Top with the asparagus, rest of the goats cheese, the pomegranate seeds, watercress and the dressing. Finally add the chopped nuts. Enjoy!
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