August 10, 2012

Roasted Asparagus, Spinach, Pesto Salad {Vegetarian and Gluten Free}

The weather outside screams al fresco dining and that is exactly what I'm going to do. A light summery salad packed with flavour is ideal for a warm summery evening, sitting outside with a crisp glass of white wine. Oh baby! 

It's really important that a salad is not a disappointment. A bad salad is similar to the heartache I feel when I bite into a soggy piece of fruit. Game over. 

A salad is so much more than a few salad leaves and a dressing. No one flavour can have the main stage, all ingredients have to play nice and complement each other. Betcha, you never thought a salad would be so technical?! 

In this salad, the tender spinach leaves stand up to the more robust but fragrant pesto and wilt lightly under the heat of the roasted asparagus. The sweet crispy red onion and juicy tomatoes add lovely texture. Finally, the creamy avocado and sharp salty parmesan, tie all the flavours together. 

This salad is so satisfying!  


Holly x

P.s. sorry for my lack of blogging recently. I'm back with a bang ! 

The salad begins with: avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion, asparagus, fresh basil pesto and spinach.

Such promising ingredients! 

Place the asparagus on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and... 

 ...roast at 220 for 10-15minutes.

Make sure you season the asparagus well with salt. It makes it taste SSOOO good and it kind of dries out and goes lovely and crispy.  

While the asparagus is roasting, thinly slice the red onion into half moons and toss with the spinach.

Half/quarter the tomatoes depending on how large they are and toss them in.

Add the roasted asparagus and mix everything with the fresh fragrant pesto.

Lastly, garnish the salad by scooping out the avocado flesh with a baby spoon.  Add the  avocado to the salad. Grate a few shards of parmesan cheese over the top. 

Make a more substantial meal out of the salad by roasting chicken wrapped in bacon.

If you're into fish, salmon would go AMAZINGLY with this! However, the veggie version above is bursting with flavour and is really satisfying. 

Recipe, Serves 5
5 Chicken Breasts

5 Pieces of Streaky Bacon, unsmoked
1 Avocado
3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil Pesto
1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
Bag of Spinach, washed
250g Asparagus
50g Parmesan, shaved
An assortment of Cherry Tomatoes halved, I used Red and Yellow
Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C
Wrap the chicken in bacon.
Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20-25 minutes.
Lay the asparagus on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. 
When just about ready to serve, in a bowl mix together the spinach, sliced onion, tomatoes, pesto and roasted asparagus. 
Place in a big bowl. 
Halve the avocado and using a baby spoon, scoop out the flesh on top of the salad and garnish with the shaved shards of parmesan cheese.
Serve alongside the roasted chicken breast, if using.

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