Whoever coined the term “less is more” never tasted this asparagus dish. Simple roasted asparagus elevated to the stratosphere by being bathed in a sundried tomato dressing then strewn with vegan Parmesan, fresh basil and toasted pine nuts. A perfect argument for the more is more crowd.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore simple roasted asparagus or any vegetable for that matter. A bit of good olive oil and kosher salt then a short visit to a 400-degree oven and a fabulous and easy side dish is ready.
But this week, I was looking for more than simple. Way more. Like razzle dazzle more. A gorgeous plate of vegetables with an intense bite, that is company ready yet easy enough to make for a family dinner on any given weeknight.
It’s a dish that will get oohs and aahs from guests who will readily believe that you fussed in the kitchen for hours, like in that commercial. I love dishes like that! Store bought shaved vegan Parmesan from Violife as well as jarred julienned sundried tomatoes in oil and toasted pine nuts from Trader Joe’s help with the ease of preparation.
While it’s technically a vegetable side dish this most certainly could be a substitute for a side salad as it’s delicious served warm, room temperature or chilled. Just wait to dress the asparagus until ready to serve.
Please note that Violife makes both ready-shaved vegan Parmesan and Parmesan in a wedge that you can shave yourself. I like the Trader Joes julienned sundried tomatoes as they make chopping easier and they are marinated with herbs. Any sundried tomatoes in oil are fine.
Asparagus season is upon us. I do hope you’ll try this new take on a simple roasted vegetable.
Roasted Asparagus with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing and Shaved Parm
1 and 1/4 pounds fresh asparagus spears
Good olive oil
Sundried Tomato Dressing (recipe follows)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 T chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shaved vegan Parmesan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper or foil. Wash and dry the asparagus spears. Trim off the woody end of the asparagus. Spread the asparagus equally on the 2 pans and drizzle with olive oil rubbing the oil into the spears. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Roast in the oven 4-6 minutes for very skinny spears, 8-10 minutes for thin spears and 10-12 minutes for thicker spears. The asparagus should be hot but still very green and crunchy. Keep an eye on them that they don’t overcook, as all ovens are different. I like to do the taste test for doneness.
Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes if serving hot. Longer if serving room temperature and chill if serving as a cold salad. To dress the asparagus, lay them in a linear fashion on a serving plate. Using a fork drain the sundried tomatoes out of the dressing and strew down the center of the asparagus. Drizzle a spoonful or two of the dressing on top. You won’t need all of the dressing. Top with some of the pine nuts, fresh basil and shaved parm, serving the leftover toppings and dressing on the side. Enjoy!
Refrigerate any leftovers.
Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
2 T good aged balsamic vinegar (it should be sweet)
Salt to taste about 1/4 tsp
Fresh black pepper to taste
2 scallion tops (the white part) minced
2 T sundried tomato oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil
2 T good extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Whisk the vinegar, salt, pepper and scallions until combined. Slowly whisk in the 2 oils until very well combined. Stir in the chopped sundried tomatoes. Refrigerate if not using right away. Bring to room temperature to serve.