The appearance of asparagus heralds spring and offers an elegant addition to healthy seasonal recipes.
A familiar rite of spring in my Michigan hometown is the springtime harvest of asparagus. This member of the lily family grows prolifically in the backyards of my friends and family, and with the season comes dreams of eating it scrambled in a frittata, grilled on the barbeque or roasted in the oven and sprinkled with sesame seeds and feta cheese. A recent return to host a Wellness Weekend workshop in the beautiful coastal town of Frankfort welcomed me with a bounty of asparagus. As I braved a cold Saturday walk to the farmers’ market, I was met by piles of the familiar green stalks. At around a dollar a pound, naturally I loaded up.
In addition to being the stuff of dreams for asparagus lovers, the slender stalks are a good source of protein, low in carbohydrates and is packed full of vitamins A, C, K and traces of B complex. Asparagus also contains a beneficial amino acid called asparagine. When juiced, its high alkalinity helps to clear waste from the muscles.
You can find more useful information about asparagus at http://asparagus.org/ (and if you find yourself in Michigan in the spring, be sure to stop at the many roadside markets or farm stands and indulge).
White Asparagus Risotto
White asparagus is just asparagus that has been kept away from sunlight, which causes the plant to produce the chlorophyll that gives it its green coloring. White asparagus or Spargel is easy to find if you live in Germany or most European countries, though it’s harder to find in the U.S. This light version of risotto with chicken and vegetables includes white asparagus, but you can easily substitute green asparagus depending on availability.
This healthy recipe can either be fully vegetarian or with added chicken. It can also be easily blended into baby food.
Ingredients (yields 8 servings)
- 2 cups brown rice (or enriched white rice)
- 4 cups water
- 1 large chicken breast, sliced into small cubes (optional)
- 10 pieces asparagus, sliced in 1/2″ pieces
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano, chopped
- 1 teaspoon summer savory, chopped
- dash of salt
- In a saucepan, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- In large skillet, add olive oil, chopped garlic and onion and saute until soft and lightly golden.
- Add chicken pieces, salt and summer savory and saute until chicken turns golden and is cooked through.
- Add asparagus and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add cooked rice over chicken mix, add olive oil, oregano and stir all ingredients together.
- Serve with side of fresh salad, or blend with added warm water into baby food. Enjoy!
Written by Michele Fulkerson; Recipe & photos by Katka Konecna