Asparagus and Arugula Salad

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I’ll deny it if anyone were to ask me, but I’m kinda a California Pizza Kitchen junkie. I’ve tried just about everything on their menu, and despite the fact that they over-salt everything, it all is pretty crave worthy. I live for the fennel sausage on their Sicilian pizza and always sneak a bite of my brother’s Mac n’ cheese.

Recently, my mom got me hooked on their asparagus and arugula salad – it is seriously so good! It is such a harmonious blend of sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, and a zesty lemon-herb vinaigrette! And if you add the kid’s grilled chicken to it, you’ve got yourself dinner for one.

But, let’s face it, I can’t be living a life of luxury with Restaurant Runner bringing CPK to my doorstep every time I want an appetizer portion salad. Instead, why not recreate it?

When I did recreate it, I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy it was to make. And for as simple as the salad it, it is flavor-packed! Good ingredients go a long way, and this bears a lot of truth in this dish. Aside from its bold flavor, it incorporates ingredients that are nutrient-dense. With sun dried tomatoes, which are rich in vitamins C and K, and are a good source of antioxidants, plus asparagus, which is high in folate and fiber, you can take pride in eating mindfully – even if you make this just because it tastes pretty darn good.

Also, can we take a second to appreciate the Marcona almonds in this salad too? If you’ve never tried the humble Marcona almond, it is more buttery in flavor than your traditional almond – and just another why I need to go to Spain. I will say that you probably won’t find Marcona almonds at your local Publix or Von’s, but they are always near the cheese and olive section of Whole Foods. They are so, so good on their own and I will eat an entire container by myself (hence why their weren’t more pictured on the plate). Although I used raw Marcona almonds, I will drop everything for the truffle sea salt variety (an essential to your next charcuterie board).

But enough with my love of almonds, you just want to know how to make the salad and so without further ado here is how to make it!

Servings: 4

Calories per serving: 201.5

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz bag of arugula
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/4 cup raw Marcona almonds
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan
  • zest of 1 lemon (optional)

For the Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette:

  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (mix of dried oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and basil)

Preparation:

  1. For this salad, I like to start by blanching the asparagus an hour or two ahead. Fill a large pot with water and salt generously (rule of thumb: your water should be as salty as the ocean so about a 1/4 cup of salt per gallon of water). Bring this to a boil. Meanwhile, as the water heats up, fill a large bowl with equal parts ice and water to  prepare an ice bath and set this nearby the pot of boiling water.
  2. Once the water has come to a boil, add in the asparagus and allow it to cook through (between 2-4 min) until it is crisp and bright green.
  3. Remove the asparagus from the pot once cooked through and immediately stick in an ice bath to shock the vegetables, which will stop them from cooking any longer and preserve the flavor of the vegetable.
  4. After a couple of minutes, drain the asparagus and place in the fridge while you work on the rest of the salad.
  5. Next, make the dressing. For the lemon-herb vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and Italian seasoning to a mason jar. Secure the jar with a lid and shake to emulsify.
  6. Next, measure out the Marcona almonds, parmesan, and sun-dried tomatoes. Taking the sun-dried tomatoes, remove any of the excess oil with a paper towel and roughly chop the tomatoes. Set these ingredients aside.
  7. Now, remove the asparagus from the fridge and chop the stalks into thirds.
  8. Combine the asparagus and arugula in a large bowl. Toss together with half of the dressing, adding any extra dressing to taste afterwards.
  9. Plate the salad greens and top with the sun-dried tomatoes, Marcona almonds, and parmesan.
  10. Using a microplane (or regular grater if you don’t have one), zest one lemon over the tops of the salads and they are ready to serve!

This salad is great as a starter, or simply on its own! If you make this recipe and love it, hate it, or have suggestions for how to make it better I would love to hear your feedback! Also, if you want to see recipes for any of your other restaurant favorites, let me know and I will try to make it happen! As always, thank you for reading and bon appétit!

-xo Grace

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