Quinoa and White Bean Salad with Wasabi and Roasted Asparagus

Sweet, tender and elegant all on its own, the season's first few bunches of fresh local asparagus in my house rarely make it past a quick steaming with a light sprinkling of lemon juice and sea salt. But with a new bunch in hand with every trip to the market, slightly more elaborate preparations soon break up the routine without compromising the simple and modest treatment that so perfectly suits asparagus.

Roasted asparagus and fresh crunchy red bell pepper combine beautifully with the delicate nutty flavour of quinoa and a lively tamari, sesame and wasabi dressing in this colourful summer salad. The addition of white cannellini beans also makes this a complete and wholesome lunch or dinner.

If you don't have powdered wasabi on hand, substitute a lesser amount of cayenne pepper. Tamari sauce, however, is almost a kitchen essential — traditionally brewed from slow-fermented soy beans, it is far superior to anything marketed as just soy sauce, which is typically made with 40-60% wheat as well as quick hydrolyzed soy protein and caramel colouring. Good tamari sauces are wheat-free, contain more digestible proteins, and taste so much better than ordinary soy sauces that you'll never go back. You can find tamari sauces from such reputable suppliers as San-J or Eden Foods at most health food stores and large supermarkets.

This is also my submission to My Legume Love Affair, a very popular monthly event started by lovely Susan and hosted this month by Diana of Spain in Iowa.

Quinoa and White Bean Salad with Wasabi and Roasted Asparagus

Salad:

1 cup dried quinoa
1/2 cup dried cannellini (white kidney) beans
1 bunch fresh asparagus
olive oil for brushing
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green onions, sliced


Dressing:

2 tablespoons tamari sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 - 2 teaspoons wasabi powder, or to taste


Garnish:

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Scrub the quinoa under cold running water. Add to a pan, cover with 2 cups of cold water, and soak overnight at room temperature. Separately, rinse the beans and cover with cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Let stand overnight at room temperature.

The following day, bring the quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans. Add to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Preheat an oven to 425°. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and arrange the spears on a baking sheet. Brush each side of the spears lightly with olive oil. Roast the asparagus for 10 minutes, turning the spears over once. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Cut the spears into halves or thirds.

Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a small pan over medium-low heat, tossing frequently, for 5 minutes until golden brown.

Mix the tamari sauce, sesame oils and lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk the wasabi into the dressing, a 1/2 teaspoon at a time to create the desired spiciness.

Gently combine the quinoa, beans, asparagus, red pepper and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss.

Serve cold or at room temperature, with a scattering of toasted sesame seeds over each serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Other asparagus recipes you may enjoy:
Wasabi Roasted Asparagus
Asparagus and Oriental Tamari Dressing with Pine Nuts
Asparagus Pesto Rice
Farfalle Pasta with Cannellini Beans and Asparagus in a White Mushroom Yogurt Sauce

On the top of the reading stack: The National Post

Audio Accompaniment: Rustling leaves, chirping birds and lawnmowers

6 comments:

Suman Singh said...

first time here..nice blog with wonderful collections of recipes...this salad loooks so healthy and delicious..liked the ingredients in dressing..especially the wasabi powder..yummie!

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

Wow Lisa, those are lot of amazing tastes in one dish. I love how everything comes together.

Jacqueline said...

Graham doesn't like asparagus. Don't ask me why, it is a mystery to me, so I don't enjoy it very often. I know I would just love this :)

Apu said...

Lovely recipe!! I find quinoa great for recipes like this one!!

Spice Rack said...

What a healthy recipe, I also love the food design. A simple but delicious dish. Spices are easy to find, mostly found in spices rack.

Anonymous said...

Did it for Easter, loved the taste, came beautifully and not difficult to make. No sound of lawnmower as we had 30 cm of snow on the grass here in Ontario.