In my world there are three key factors that make a salad more than just a salad. First, the ingredients are fresh. Second, there is plenty of color. The health benefits of having a lot of color in your salads, or any dish, is that color is natures way of letting us know that what we are about to eat, is good for us. And third, the salad is drizzled or tossed lightly with a dressing that did not make its way out of a bottle.
You can add even more color to this salad by roasting squash, zucchini, carrots or other favorite vegetables.
Roasted Asparagus Salad
Makes 8 servings
Recipe idea from Southern Living
1-1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 head Bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 avocado, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; remove scales with a vegetable peeler, if desired.
2. Stir together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
3. Add asparagus to olive oil mixture, and toss gently to coat. Place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet.
4. Bake asparagus at 425 degrees F. for 13 to 15 minutes or to desired degree of tender ness. Cool 10 minutes.
5. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, and remaining 7 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
6. Toss together tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar mixture.
7. Arrange lettuce on individual serving plates (note: I prefer using a platter to serve salad). Top with tomato mixture and asparagus. Add avocado just before serving. Drizzle with remaining balsamic vinegar mixture.