Last week, eldest spotted some asparagus on special offer in the supermarket and asked if we could buy it. As I am partial to a dish with asparagus, and despite it being Mexican rather than British asparagus, I granted her request and made a mental note to cook with it at some point. After a few days of not using our asparagus, I decided that I had better find a dish to use it up. I found this recipe online and decided to adapt it to suit the ingredients I had. Coincidentally, I had been chatting with a vegetarian friend about not using enough beans, lentils and pulses in my cooking, and so I decided to use some canned chickpeas for added protein. The onion and garlic add flavour to the dish, and the cashews add a delicious crunchy texture, compared to the soft texture of the rest of the dish. The dressing adds some extra zing to the other flavours, although go easy on the salt!
My kids won't eat rice with "funny" dressing on, so for them, I left the dressing off and grated some cheese over the top of the dish. A dash of tomato ketchup also helped the dish to go down a little more easily with the kids. This dish is a great balanced meal for vegetarian kids. The rice provides carbohydrates, the asparagus and onions provide the vegetables, cheese provides the dairy, and the chickpeas and nuts provide the protein. (This dish is made even healthier if its brown rice - although mine won't eat it!).
We ate this dish warm and it was really delicious. I think that this would make a fantastic summer salad, served cold as part of a buffet, or as a main meal. You could also use tahini instead of soy sauce in the dressing and make the dish with or without the dressing.
Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!
Asparagus, Onion, Chickpea & Cashew Rice
500g Long Grain Rice
350g Asparagus Spears, washed & chopped into chunks
2 medium Onions, chopped
400g Canned Chickpeas, drained
150g Cashew Nuts
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
Olive Oil for cooking
Knob of Butter for cooking
For The Dressing:
1 Garlic Clove, crushed and chopped
50ml Vegetarian Soy Sauce
50ml Lemon Juice
Zest from one Lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Hot Water
Salt for seasoning