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May 17, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy

Roasted Lemon Asparagus with Pecans

—  found in  Food  —

Spring has sprung, and so has the asparagus!

Asparagus is a member of the lily family and one of the first veggies to pop up in the spring. It's asparagus season right now here in Ontario, so I'm eating tons of this veggie right now, because not only is it super tasty, but it's got tons of health benefits:

  • a great source of folate, which is important for red blood cell production and helps prevent neural tube defects in the early stages of pregnancy
  • an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin C, but keep in mind that this nutrient is very heat sensitive, so don't overcook!
  • very good source of plant-based, blood-building iron
  • tons of fiber to keep your digestive system moving joyously
  • a good source of calcium, which is especially important if you're avoiding dairy

Most asparagus is green, but you can also find white and purple. White asparagus is more tender, but lacks the nutritious chlorophyll that makes standard asparagus green. Purple asparagus is smaller, but has an extra super-nutritious antioxidant: anthocyanins (the same nutrient that makes dark berries an antioxidiant powerhouse).

There are lots of healthy ways to cook asparagus; you can blanch it, steam it or stir-fry it, but one of my favourite ways is to oven roast it, which helps retain lots of those health-boosting nutrients.

I'm so excited about asparagus season that I'm going to share my asparagus recipe from my book Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting up here on the blog because I want everyone to have it!

You may be surprised to see grapeseed oil rather than olive oil in this recipe. I love extra virgin olive oil for lots of things, but the phytonutrients in this oil are really delicate, and if exposed to too much heat, they can smoke and oxidize. Grapeseed oil is far better at standing up to the heat of roasting, so save the EVOO for salads and use grapeseed oil when you want to turn up the heat!

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Ingredients
  • 1 lb (450 g) asparagus (preferably thick spears)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar or juice of one lemon
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Snap tough ends off asparagus and discard. Place asparagus in a large baking dish or baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and grapeseed oil and roll asparagus around to coat well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 18-20 minutes or until fork-tender. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with pecans.

What seasonal spring foods are you excited to start seeing at the farmer's market? Let me know in the comments below!

May 17, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy
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