This month we’re looking to the garden for culinary inspiration and putting fresh vegetables front and center at the table. Whether you follow a plant-based diet or are simply trying to incorporate more whole foods into your regular eating habits, we’ve got you covered with three vegetable-focused side dishes. These recipes don’t require a long list of hard-to-find ingredients. Instead, they are made simply with raw vegetables and homemade vinaigrettes, and, best of all, they are packed with flavor and nutrients.
Mom was right: Vegetables in any form are good for your health; but it turns out there are certain benefits of eating vegetables in their raw state. A few servings of raw vegetables a day can help give you more energy, better skin, improved digestion and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating your veggies raw means you’ll likely get more water-soluble nutrients, like vitamin C and the B vitamins, than from eating cooked vegetables.
Enjoying raw vegetables at the peak of their ripeness also helps you get the most antioxidant bang for your buck. If you’re used to having your vegetables cooked, switching to raw offers a different texture and a satisfying crunch, which helps keep things interesting.
Shaved Asparagus Salad With Parmesan and Lemon
Look for very thick asparagus spears, which will yield more substantial shavings. You’re essentially creating “ribbons” from the asparagus.
- 12 large asparagus spears (about 1 pound), trimmed and peeled
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus a piece for shaving
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Working with 1 asparagus spear at a time, use a vegetable peeler to shave spears into long, thin shavings. Start just below the tip and shave toward the end. Transfer to a medium bowl. The tips will snap off as spears get thinner; add them to the bowl.
In a small bowl, combine grated Parmesan and lemon juice and slowly whisk in oil until well blended. Season vinaigrette generously with salt and pepper.
Drizzle vinaigrette over shaved asparagus and toss to coat.
Transfer to a shallow serving platter and use the peeler to shave more Parmesan over the salad. Top with another few grinds of fresh cracked pepper.
Serve immediately to maintain a nice crunch.