Spring Forward With Veggies of the Season

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spring asparagus and shrimp grain bowlYou know for sure it’s spring-time when you see asparagus peeping out of the ground. Even if you don’t have your own patch, they’re at a seasonal price point at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. While delicious simply steamed, roasting caramelizes the natural sugars, bringing about an amazing depth of flavor.

This dish provides even more flavor with a lemony dressing and shrimp, and a complete meal that may be served hot or cold. Couscous is an easy-to-prepare wheat-based grain, which may be substituted with pasta or rice.

Spring Asparagus and Shrimp (or Chicken) Grain Bowl

Ingredients

For roasted asparagus:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest from ½ lemon

For dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

For grain:

  • 1 ½ cups whole grain couscous
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup sliced olives of choice
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup nuts of choice (pistachios are nice)
  • ½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • zest from ½ lemon

Shrimp:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (may substitute with chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Feta cheese for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Pour olive oil on a sheet pan and toss with asparagus, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place in oven, tossing every 5 minutes or so until roasted to desired doneness. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking ingredients together.
  3. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add couscous, stir and cover, then turn off heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Combine 4 cups of the couscous (or other grain) with olives, feta cheese, nuts, Italian parsley, and lemon zest. Toss grain mixture with dressing and asparagus.
  4. Using the same pan that asparagus was roasted on, toss shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in 425° oven, cook for 2 minutes and flip for another 2 minutes or until done (145°). Sprinkle with lemon juice. Chicken may be prepared with the same method, but will take longer. Make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°.
  5. Plate grain and asparagus mixture and top with shrimp and feta cheese as desired.
  6. Often a salad ingredient, arugula is a spring green with a peppery kick to it. Not only is lemon and pepper a great combination, the lemony dressing with arugula in this recipe will awaken your hibernating taste buds.

Arugula Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 cups arugula, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 apple, diced
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Toss with arugula and apple until well mixed. Top with Parmesan cheese.