Make ahead for easy weekday lunches, picnics and alfresco dinners; Asparagus Wrap with Whipped Avocado Sun-Dried Tomato Spread. Grill the veggies or roast em’ up! vegetarian or vegan + optionally gf
I have some news, y’all. The Chickadee saga has come to an end. I very much miss seeing and hearing the activity at their nest box everyday.
The dee’s had six eggs. That was the last we checked the box until after the hatchlings fledged. They left their nest box completely without our knowing it. Perhaps under the cover of darkness early in the morning, when many birds fledge. It happened so quickly. One day they were there. The next, gone.
It was with anticipation that we opened the box after the calls of the little dees fell silent and there was no sign of the adults. We were hopeful of an empty nest. But as we slowly opened the box we found three little lifeless bodies under developed. They didn’t make it.
We’ll never know why. So Rob and I focused on the three that fledged with gratitude and a little celebration of their new life.
More beautiful little dees off into the world.
The two other boxes in the forest? They both have nests and one is occupied, but we don’t know with how many eggs. We’ll continue to monitor that one.
With Spring quickly slipping away and asparagus season so short, I find myself with a refrigerator full of it whipping up new and old favorites. I’ve already made Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Veggies, my Avocado with Roasted Asparagus on Multigrain Toast, and this easy Flatbread Pizza.
For this recipe, I fired up the grill and gave these veggies a good char before stuffing them into a wrap smeared with a tangy avocado, goat cheese, sun-dried tomato spread. I added a bit of sunflower seeds for crunch and a hint of red pepper flakes for a tiny kick.
But you don’t need a grill to make this wrap happen. Instead of grilling the veggies, they can be roasted.
The spread takes all of a few minutes to whip up. It’s SO tangy, creamy and rich. If dairy free, omit the goat cheese and in its place, add another 1/2 avocado.
Whipping the spread up in the food processor makes the spread light – almost fluffy!
There seems to be a debate on the continuum of crisp vs soft grilled/roasted veggies. Some like their veggies tender crisp while others prefer a softer texture. Keep this in mind when grilling or roasting veggies.
If you like veggies a bit softer, keep them on the grill or in the oven a few minutes longer. Prefer crisper grilled veg? Take them off the heat earlier. Testing the veggies as they grill/roast will ensure they’re cooked to your preference.
Asparagus Wrap with Whipped Avocado Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Make ahead for easy weekday lunches, picnics or alfresco dinners; Asparagus Wrap with Whipped Avocado Sun-Dried Tomato Spread. Grill the veggies or roast em' up, serve warm or chilled. vegetarian or vegan + gf if needed
For the Spread:
- 1 Avocado *1 1/2 if dairy free
- 3 oz (85g) Goat Cheese *omit for dairy free and see note
- 2 Tbs Sun Dried Tomatoes (packed in oil) rinsed, drained and diced
- 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 2 Tbs Chopped Fresh Herbs like basil, parsley and/or thyme
For the Wrap:
- 12 oz (340g) Fresh Asparagus this is about 1/2 a bunch or 12 spears
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper sliced in 1/2" (12mm) wide pieces
- 1/2 Large Purple (or red) Onion
- 1 Tbs + 1/2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 C (45g) Baby Spinach Leaves packed
- 3 10" (25cm) Whole Wheat Wraps gluten free if needed
- 3 Tbs Hulled Sunflower Seeds
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Lemon
For the Spread:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade, add the avocado, goat cheese (more avocado if dairy free - see note*), sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, pepper flakes, salt and herbs. Process until smooth and airy. About 1 minute. Stop to scrape down bowl at least once.
Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator until ready to use. *Any leftovers can be used for additional wraps or dip.
For the Wrap:
A. ON THE GRILL: The amount of time it takes to grill the asparagus will depend on the thicknesses of the asparagus and on how many times the grill lid is opened and for how long. Keep an eye on them and test as you go. They should be tender, and still have a bit of crispness to them - not mushy. Heat grill to 400F (204C). Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. If the ends still seem tough, use a vegetable peeler to shave off a thin outer layer of the tough stems. Toss the asparagus, and sliced bell pepper with 1 Tbs of oil making sure the veggies are evenly coated. Rub the remaining tsp of oil on the cut side of the onion. Place the onion on the grill first, cut side down for 4 minutes. To the grill, add the bell pepper in a vegetable basket and grill, turning occassionally for 4 minutes. Keep an eye on the onion in the mean time and flip it over after about 8 minutes total. Add the asparagus to the grill and grill on each side for about 4 minutes. All the veggies will come off the grill at about the same time. If the asparagus seems too crunchy, turn the grill off, remove the other veggies and allow the residual heat to cook the asparagus for a minute or two longer.
B. IN THE OVEN: Preheat oven to 400F (204C) and set oven rack in the center. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. If the ends still seem tough, use a vegetable peeler to shave off a thin outer layer of the tough stems. Slice the onions into 1/2" (12mm) thick 1/2 moons. Place all the veggies on a one of the sheet pans and toss with oil making sure the veggies are evenly coated. Transfer the asparagus to the other pan. Place the onions and bell peppers in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then place the asparagus in the oven and roast all the veggies together for an additional 15-20 minutes turning the veggies once during roasting. The asparagus should be tender, have a slight crunch but not be mushy. Adjust cooking time as needed. Remove from oven.
Once the veggies are cool enough to handle. cut the asparagus in 1/2 and slice the onion into long thin pieces. Assemble and serve while the veggies are still warm or assemble and chill (more instructions below).
Generously slather a scoop of spread within one inch of the edge of the wrap, in a square shape. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the spread then build the veggie layers. Start with a layer of spinach leaves, then add the asparagus alternating stems and tips, top with onions and bell peppers. Sprinkle more sunflower seeds on top, add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sprinkle a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top. Wrap the veggies up by first folding in the sides of the wrap, then rolling, keeping the edges tucked in, from one side of the other.
If prepping ahead, wrap in parchment paper and store in a lidded container in the refrigerator. If serving right away, slice wrap in 1/2 and place a pic on both sides to hold wrap in place. The wraps will stay fresh for up to two days in the refrigerator.
*For dairy free, omit the goat cheese and in its place add 1/2 an avocado.