I am an asparagus fiend. Although I will eat it year-round, I'm happiest during the spring when it's super fresh, sweet, and cheap. I'm definitely a fan of the less is more mindset when comes to cooking it (there's nothing like some freshly grilled spears with olive oil and lemon), but since I eat so much of it, I'm always looking for ways to jazz it up a bit.
I came across this recipe for Chili Almond Asparagus (via Vegan Yum Yum) a few years ago and it instantly became one of my favorites. This asparagus dish contains the perfect combination of sweet and tart with just the right amount of heat. It's intended to be served as a side dish, but I will often use it as the main component of dinner, served with some grilled red bell peppers drizzled with cream of balsamic, and brown rice. This is a must try for all asparagus lovers!
Chili Almond Asparagus
INGREDIENTS1/4 cup sliced almonds, roughly crushed
2 tsp red chili flakes
1 lb asparagus spears, trimmed
2 carrots, peeled
2 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Fresh zest and juice of 1 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 450°
2. Roughly crush the almonds so that most are ground fairly fine, but leave a few larger pieces left in the mix. Mix together 1/2 of the ground almonds, soup stock powder, and the chili flakes.
3. Trim the carrots to the same length as the asparagus spears. Cut half the carrots lengthwise, then quarter them, and continue cutting each piece lengthwise until you have a sizable amount of long, flexible, thin strips of carrots.
4. In a large bowl, toss the carrots and the asparagus spears in the oils. Sprinkle the almond seasoning over the asparagus and carrots and toss well, making sure the coating sticks to the veggies.
5. Arrange the veggies in one layer on a parchment covered baking sheet. If there is any seasoning left in the bowl, scrape it onto the veggies.
6. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and starting to color. Finish under the broiler for a few minutes until brown and crispy in places.
7. Top with the remaining almond pieces, lemon zest, and season with a sprinkle of lemon.