Every month, two of my absolute favorite blogs- DietDessertnDogs and Affairs of Living hold this really neat roundup called the SOS Kitchen Challenge . There is a monthly ingredient featured, and the challenge is to create something with it that is vegan, made with whole foods, and not using refined sugar as a sweetener, among a few other criteria.
This month, the challenge is Asparagus.
I got to thinking. I want to do something pink and slightly sweet but also savoury with a little kick. Its spring. When you think about pink and sweet, it doesn’t exactly conjure images up of asparagus- but hold on :) . Here’s the thing. Everyone forgets about the lovely delicate white asparagus! I knew I could figure something out with it… plus- I needed something that is slightly sweet but also savoury as a way to dress up my protein. My meat dishes are pretty simple and I was kinda getting sick of just steamed chicken on a salad at lunch. I wanted to wake it up a bit. So, I figured, a chutney or relish-type dish would be perfect.
I dove into my freezer thinking, ok. I need something thats acidic like asparagus, has a strong bright flavour and tastes like spring. Rhubarb. Perfect!! I had a whole bunch of frozen chopped rhubarb from the summer I hadn’t used yet and figured this would be the perfect chance to play around.
This chutney is kinda unique. You have a spicy layer, a little bit of heat, a little bit of sweet, and a perfect savoury kick that wakes up any protein dish you’ve made. And its so pretty!
Next time I think I’ll add a touch of cinnamon for warmth, and I’ll probably chop up the asparagus smaller so its easier to serve. Otherwise, super fun :) . I wanted to use fresh white asparagus but after combing the city for about a week or two I’ve accepted they are not yet in season. So, I’ve used a jar of pickled white asparagus and I find I like it even better that way- the tart vinegar is a perfect complement to the rhubarb.
So, here we go! Don’t worry too much about being super exact with the measurements, go with how you prefer it to taste.
Asparagus Rhubarb Chutney
- a jar of pickled white asparagus, drained and chopped (yields about 1 cup)
- 1/2 hot banana pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp orange grated zest
- juice from 1/2 an orange
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or more to taste, or use coconut sap)
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- Add the rhubarb to a deep saucepan and cook over medium high heat with the orange zest, ginger, banana pepper and orange juice.
- When the rhubarb has cooked through, toss in the white asparagus and cook for a minute or two so that its incorporated into the dish but not mush.
- Season to taste with salt and maple syrup (or coconut sap).
- Serve hot orcold over your prefered meat, tofu, or other protein.