Last week I had the pleasure of visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Utah for a long weekend. With the arrival of my sister’s baby just a few weeks away, we had a blast opening gifts at her “virtual baby shower” via webcam with a few family members, checking out strollers and rocking chairs at Babies R’ Us, and putting a few finishing touches on the baby’s room. This little one will be my very first niece or nephew, and I’m over-the-moon excited to become an aunt.
Although the weather when I visited Utah was much like the weather here in Wisconsin—nothing like spring yet!—we had a chance to fire up the brand new grill on the back deck one night and feast on some tasty food. My brother-in-law, a lover of all things grilled, made us burgers with lemon-grilled asparagus. I whipped up a quick Southwestern chickpea salad to round out the meal, which turned out tangy and delicious. Hopefully one of these days I’ll get around to making the recipe again to photograph and share with you here.
Whenever I spend time with my family, good food always seems to be the backbone of our visits. Whether it’s a festive holiday meal shared under one roof together or a simple supper of grilled burgers and veggies, we eat well. The pleasant company of those I love gathered around the table makes the meals we share together all the more delicious. After saying our goodbyes and parting ways again until our next visit, I find myself already looking forward to the family dinners we’ll share. And next time, there will be a little baby at the table!
This Roasted Asparagus, Grape, & Chicken Salad would make a fine meal shared with those you love. Pack it up for a picnic, take it to your next potluck, or simply gather around the kitchen and dish it up on a weeknight. The fresh flavors and vibrant colors sing spring. As we swing back into salad season, I see a lot of this one in my future. After our beloved asparagus falls out of season, green beans will make an excellent summer stand-in. Chopped roasted turkey breast would also work instead of the chicken.
Have a wonderful Easter weekend, whether you spend it with family or on your own. No matter the company or the weather, it’s the perfect weekend to celebrate spring!
Roasted Asparagus, Grape, & Chicken Salad
Look for thicker asparagus stalks, which hold up better during roasting. If thin stalks are all that is available, adjust the roasting time accordingly (likely 8-10 minutes total). To enhance the lemony quality of this salad, add 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest to the dressing.
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt, to taste
2 1/2 cups cooked, chopped or shredded chicken breast meat
1 large stalk celery, peeled and chopped small
2/3 cup red grapes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced or finely grated
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Snap off the tough stem ends of the asparagus and discard. Toss the asparagus stalks with the olive oil and sea salt to taste. Arrange in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes until bright green and tender when pierced with a knife.
When asparagus is cool enough to handle, cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the chicken, celery, grapes, peas, and onion. Toss to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss to thoroughly coat.
Serve the salad at room temperature, either on its own or over a bed of tender spinach or baby greens.