Today's post is written by Claire of Gluten Free and the City.
Day 8: Claire's Asparagus Salad with Strawberries and Maple Tahini Dressing
I have only being living gluten-free for about 7 months now, having been diagnosed with celiac disease last Thanksgiving. That was my first pie-less and stuffing-less Thanksgiving and it was rough. Further, I had to rethink all of my standard meals. No more pasta (until I discovered rice pasta from Trader Joe’s), fresh bread, or breaded chicken. I didn’t even know what to snack on, since crackers, pretzels, and regularly available office baked goods were out of the question.
Going gluten-free changed my diet in more ways than just eliminating gluten. I learned to eat healthfully and balanced for each meal and snack of the day (with the help of a nutritionist). It has also inspired a real passion in me for food and cooking. On weekends, I love going to farmer’s markets and spending hours cooking or baking, but the reality is, on weeknights, after a long day at work, I rarely have the energy to devote to a laborious meal. That is why, when I saw Ginger Lemon Girl Carrie’s blog about quick and easy gluten-free dinners, I knew I had to contribute. Over the past 7 months, I’ve learned that you can throw together a healthy, delicious, and interesting meal in 30 minutes, no problem.
This recipe is great for spring and summer. Salads are great for when the mercury starts rising and you no longer crave the stews and heavier meals of the winter. Asparagus and strawberries are in season, which makes this salad especially good, since you can pick up your ingredients locally.
Asparagus Salad with Strawberries and Maple Tahini Dressing
1 bunch of washed spinach leaves
1/2 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
5-10 strawberries cut into quarters
1/8 cup of walnuts
1 ½ cups of your protein of choice (beans, especially chickpeas are delicious in salads, but if you crave meat, I’d go for chicken strips- sautéed in olive oil with some salt and pepper)
Dressing (from Gluten-Free Goddess)
2 tablespoons sesame tahini
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Prepare the asparagus by snapping the bottom of the stems off and chopping the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Steam the asparagus for 1 minute and then run them under cold water to stop them from cooking (also called blanching). You want the asparagus crisp, but cooked. Toss the asparagus with the spinach leaves, strawberries, walnuts, and your protein. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over each plate.
Claire lives in New York City with three roommates (her boyfriend, gluten-free friend Erin, and her dog, Rufus) and works for a human rights nonprofit foundation. After having difficulty finding gluten-free beer in the city other than Whole Foods (she still hasn’t found it), Claire decided to start a blog that is a gluten-free resource for living in New York City. On Gluten Free and the City she shares restaurant reviews, recipes, and other gluten-free tips for navigating the gluten-free lifestyle in the Big Apple.