I’ve had the idea for this salad at the back of my mind for quite some time, but it was just this past week that I finally got my hands on some local asparagus. The wait was well worth it. Because I had to be a little patient, the joy of finally seeing them at the market and the reward of enjoying their crunchy bite afterwards seemed even more satisfying.
This salad is a simple dish, but is to me a perfect celebration of spring. It brings together pretty much all the good things I like about this season and everything I can wish for at this time of year. It’s fresh and clean, with the bright flavours of dill and lemon, but also grounding and satisfying, with crispy potatoes tossed in a rich, creamy dressing. It’s punctuated with bursts of colorful and crunchy pickled radishes for a perfectly balanced finish.
This is a great transitional dish between the fresher days and the warm, sunny ones. A delicious and well balanced meal that captures the beauty and unpredictable nature of this lovely season.
I’ve been obsessed with quick pickles lately. They are so simple and easy to make. Once you start experimenting with them you will never want to stop. They always add a little je-ne-sais-quoi to otherwise simple dishes. Radishes, shallot and red onions are some of my favorites, but you could pickle just about any vegetable: carrot ribbons, daikon, cucumber, wild leeks, the list goes on. I went for a basic base of water, vinegar and maple syrup for these radishes, but you could very well add spices, seeds or herbs to create endless flavour combinations. These pickled radishes are ready in no time and lend to this salad a nice crunchy bite and a lovely acidity.
And let’s talk about this creamy dill dressing for a second. Blended cashews or tahini are very often used as a base for creamy dressings in plant-based recipes, but I also love using sunflower seeds at times for an affordable, nut-free option. Soaking the seeds offers optimal nutrition and is ideal to achieve a nice creaminess – I would highly recommend it if time permits. You could skip this step if you’re in a rush, but make sure you have a powerful blender as they won’t be as easy to blend. Add in some fresh dill, tangy lemon juice and dijon mustard and you’ve got yourself a delicious oil-free, nut-free, dairy-free, flavour-packed sauce.
I’m honoured that this recipe is also featured today on one of my favorite websites, Vidya Living. Claire Ragozzino is the voice and lovely lady behind Vidya. I came across her work last year and instantly fell in love with her warm spirit, positive energy and incredible knowledge. Claire is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher and lifestyle coach. She is an inspiring advocate for healthy living and someone I admire deeply. Her site is full of gorgeous nourishing recipes, and also offers a ton of resources and tips for a more mindful life. In addition to her blog, Claire leads seasonal cleanses, retreats and transformational workshops to help people reconnect with their inner wisdom (I hope I can attend one of her events one day!). Be sure to pop over Claire’s website and have a look around – I’m sure you’ll find lots of inspiration. And if you’d like to know Claire a bit more, you can listen to this lovely interview over on the Pure Green Podcast.
Notes on the recipe: This salad would make a great side dish but is filling enough to be served as a main. I like to serve it slightly warm or at room temperature. If you have a mandoline (I don’t), use it for the radishes – you’ll get nice and thin slices. Otherwise a sharp knife works well too.
- 2 small radishes, thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 lb (450 g) small potatoes such as fingerling or new potatoes (I used a mix of both)
- 1 bunch (300 g) asparagus (about 25 spears)
- ½ tbsp coconut oil (or ghee) for cooking
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for at least 4-6 hours
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2½ tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp packed fresh dill, chopped + more for serving
- 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Water, to thin (I used about ¼ cup)
- Stack radish slices in a medium-sized jar. Mix vinegar, water and maple syrup in a small bowl and pour over the radishes to cover. Seal the jar and let marinate in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and scrub the potatoes with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt (no need to peel them) and slice them length wise.
- In a bowl, toss the potatoes with coconut oil or ghee and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the potatoes cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them out evenly.
- Roast until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes (roasting time will vary according to the size of your potatoes - mine were quite small and were perfect after 15 minutes). Flip the potatoes over and roast again until golden and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.
- Mix sunflower seeds, lemon juice, dijon mustard, dill, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper in a blender on high speed (or use an immersion blender).
- Add water, one tablespoon at a time, and blend until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside until ready to serve.
- A few minutes before the potatoes are done, prep the asparagus. Remove the tough end and slice into 4 pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the asparagus for 3-4 minutes, until crisp-tender. (Alternatively, you could steam the asparagus in a vegetable steamer for about 3 minutes.)
- Rinse the asparagus under cold running water and drain.
- In a serving bowl, toss together the warm potatoes and cooked asparagus. Top with pickled radishes.
- Drizzle a generous portion of the creamy dill sauce on top and sprinkle with more chopped dill if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything gets accomplished.”
Like the beautiful ceramic bowl seen in these photos? Get it on YYY Collection.