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Try Asparagus for Healthy Summer Grilling

May 31, 2017

Memorial Day weekend has officially kicked off the beginning of summer, and for three glorious months, we Wisconsinites can celebrate fun in the sun, enjoying outdoor gatherings with family and friends. With summer also comes grilling season, giving foodies and backyard chefs a chance to shine and experiment with more healthy options one typically wouldn’t consider grilled food, such as asparagus.

Asparagus is only available locally for a short time, and I take advantage of it by making everything from asparagus quiche to casseroles, pastas, and anything else I can think of. Asparagus is also great grilled, as I discovered when experimenting with a recipe I found several years ago while paging through an issue of Vegetarian Times.

Besides being a tasty side dish, asparagus is a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C, E, and K. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, it has lots of fiber, and it’s a natural diuretic. Instead of chips or potato salad, consider asparagus as a healthy side option for summer grilling meals. Cheers to a happy and healthy summer!

Grilled Sesame Asparagus (adapted from Vegetarian Times]

1 pound of asparagus

2 T. light sesame oil

1 T. low-sodium tamari sauce

½ t. minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T. sesame seeds

Aluminum foil (for grill pouch)

Snap the thick, tough ends off of washed asparagus and discard. Cut asparagus spears into three-inch pieces (for a decorative presentation, cut stalks on an angle). Put stalks on a sheet of aluminum foil. In a bowl, whisk together sesame oil, tamari sauce, garlic, and salt and pepper and drizzle over asparagus spears. Fold foil over stalks to make a grill pouch.

Set pouch aside for about 20 minutes before grilling to let the flavors marinate. Place pouch on hot grate and grill for about three minutes. Flip pouch and grill for another three minutes. Remove from heat and test asparagus spears with a fork; if fork pierces the asparagus spears easily, they’re done; if not, return to grill for another minute or so. (Grill times may slightly vary, depending on the thickness of the spears.) Sprinkle asparagus with sesame seeds, fold pouch again and let sit for about a minute before serving.

Sheila Julson is a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings magazine.

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