Asparagus Grain Salad
This vibrant and fresh salad is everything we want to eat right now. It’s packed with flavour, thanks to sweet asparagus and mix of herbs, as well as being satisfying and full of texture from the toasted almonds. You can use any grain here - we chose giant couscous for its pasta-like nature - but barley, spelt, regular couscous or rice would all work.
200g giant couscous
50g flaked almonds
400 asparagus, sliced into ½ cm rounds
1 + 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
40g mixed soft herbs, chopped (we used dill, tarragon, basil and mint)
¼ + ½ tsp salt, separated
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Black pepper, to taste
½ tsp maple syrup
Start by cooking the couscous, by boiling it in water for 7-8 minutes in a small saucepan. Drain, stir and let it sit to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
In the meantime, toast the flaked almonds in a small pan over low-medium heat for 5-6 minutes until golden and fragrant. Set aside until serving.
In a pan over medium heat, sauté the asparagus rounds in 1 tbsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt for around 8 minutes - until they are tender but still have some bite.
Make the dressing by combining lemon juice, ½ tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper in a small bowl. Whilst mixing, pour in 3 tbsp of olive oil and maple syrup. Last, add half of the herbs and mix until combined. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
Add the couscous, sautéed asparagus, toasted flaked almonds and herbs into a large serving dish or bowl and stir to combine. Mix in the dressing and lemon zest and stir until fully incorporated.
by Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Creative, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.