In this recipe for a tasty appetizer dish or first course, marinated artichoke hearts and mushrooms mingle with fresh asparagus and herbs. Lemon juice and half-sour pickles add just the right bright, mild tartness.
Serving idea: Keep some cocktail toothpicks nearby, and serve with sliced fresh baguette (preferably whole grain), sliced vegan cheese or spread and clusters of seedless red grapes. Add red or white wine, as you prefer.
This recipe makes 6 to 8 appetizer-size servings.
A FEW ASPARAGUS TIPS (pardon the pun)
- Slender asparagus is often seen in spring, but too slender isn’t a good thing. You want stalks that are succulent, or you’ll just be getting lots of skin and little flavor.
- Choose bundles of asparagus with firm spears; the tips should be closed, plump and green.
- Avoid asparagus with withered tips and/or bottoms that look very woody and pale — a sure sign that it’s past its peak.
- If you won’t be using your asparagus right away (though you should use it within a day or two of buying), wrap the ends of the stalks with a damp paper towel and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- You can also stand asparagus spears upright in a glass filled with 2 to 3 inches of cool water. That’s even better!
WHEN YOU’RE READY TO USE IT
- Wash the asparagus stalks, then cut about an inch off the stem ends.
- If the skin looks tough toward the stem end, peel about half of the stalks toward the stem end with a vegetable peeler. This isn’t a lot of fun to do, but your finished dish will be that much better for it!
Ingredients for this recipe
- Asparagus, fresh (8 ounces)
- Marinated quartered artichoke hearts (12-ounce jar)
- Small button mushrooms (12-ounce can or two 6-ounce cans)
- Zucchini, 1 small
- Half-sour dill pickle (1 large or 2 medium)
- Dill, fresh (from a small bunch)
- Parsley, fresh (from a small bunch)
- Vegan mayonnaise
- Lemon (1 fresh, or from bottled juice)
Recipe is adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
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- 8 ounces fresh asparagus, bottoms trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch sections
- 12-ounce jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 12-ounce can (or two 6-ounce cans) small button mushrooms, well drained
- 1 small zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large or 2 medium half-sour dill pickles, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or more, to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or more, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Trim the bottoms of the asparagus stalks, then cut the stalks into l-inch pieces. In a medium skillet, with just enough water to keep the bottom moist, steam the asparagus just until bright green and crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- Combine the asparagus with the remaining ingredients. Stir together. Taste to adjust lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Serve at once as suggested in note below. This can be made a day or a few hours ahead of when it’s needed. Refrigerated (well covered) until ready to serve.
Serving idea: Keep some cocktail toothpicks nearby, and serve with sliced fresh baguette (preferably whole grain), sliced vegan cheese or spread, and clusters of seedless red grapes. See instructions on making a vegan cheese ball or log above the recipe box. Add red or white wine, as you prefer.
Here are lots more tasty vegan appetizers and snacks.