Nothing is as scrumptious as fresh asparagus right from the market during asparagus season. I’m lucky enough to live not far from an asparagus farm, which means I have access to lots of fresh asparagus as an annual spring ritual for good healthy eating.
This year, after hearing a friend talk about roasting asparagus and beets, and then adding goat cheese, I decided to take my taste buds in a different direction from steamed asparagus. What got me interested was when she said, “By adding goat cheese it makes for a healthy meal that is really satisfying, almost decadent.” I decided to give it a try.
Another reason for developing this recipe was my fondness for roasted veggies and potatoes. Roasted veggies are amazingly versatile, easy to prepare, can complement any meal, and be eaten as a snack.
Adding soft goat cheese—also known by its French name chèvre—to the roasting process gives this dish its medley of tastes. Served warm, the cheese is called chèvre chaud. Chèvre comes in various flavours, such as honey, garlic, and unique blends of herbs and spices.
Roasted Asparagus, Beet, and Chèvre Chaud
500 g (1 lb) asparagus
2 to 3 small beets
15 ml (1 tbsp) virgin oil
Pinch salt and freshly ground pepper
15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh thyme left on the stems (optional)
56 g (2 oz) goat cheese with honey or seasoned goat cheese
25 ml (2 tbsp) of dried fruit (raisins or cranberries; apricots cut to small pieces)
25 ml (2 tbsp) of slivered almonds
Parchment paper to cover baking sheet
Heat oven to 220º C (425º F). Wash asparagus and cut off the tougher bottom parts of the stems. (Don’t snap the ends as you lose too much of the asparagus). If sizes vary dramatically, slice the largest asparagus stems lengthwise. The asparagus can be chopped uniformly into halves or thirds or left whole.
Wash and peel beets and slice into small cubes. Place asparagus and beets in a large bowl. Add olive oil, seasoning, and thyme and toss until completely coated.
Cover baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange asparagus and beets on the sheet so they are spread out and not overlapping. Use a spatula to gather any remaining oil and seasonings to drizzle over the arranged vegetables. Bake for 15-20 minutes until beets are tender then remove them from the oven. Pile the asparagus and beets into the middle of the baking pan. Add cheese, fruit, and almonds. Bake another 10 minutes.
Tip: This can be eaten as a meal, as a side dish, or on top of salad greens.