It's been such a long winter, hasn't it? In the spring I long for greenery, both in my garden and on my plate. When my husband was growing up one of the first signs of spring was the sight of asparagus, which grew wild on his family's property, poking up through the ground. To me, one of the first signs of spring is seeing big, luscious bunches of asparagus for sale in the produce section. In any case, asparagus is a source of joy for me: a gustatory pleasure and a seasonal indicator. This Green Goddess Bowl is full of goodness and nutrition, and it tastes like springtime. Just gazing at the symphony of green makes me feel like the season for renewal is upon us; and this meal will certainly make you feel renewed and energized.

Thanks to the cashews and the quinoa, this dish is a perfectly balanced, protein-rich vegan meal, but I serve it with chicken sauteed in garlic and olive oil for my family. It's a meal that is delicious either hot or cold - I often make extras just so I can have it cold the next day.

Note: Nutritional yeast is flakey, yellow, and adds a cheese-like flavour to a dish. It can be found, along with raw cashews, in any health food store.

Start with beautiful green veggies.

Toss the veggies in olive oil.

Roast until tender-crisp.

Ingredients

1 avocado
1/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup hot water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup packed fresh basil
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 clove garlic
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 large bunch asparagus
1 zucchini squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
 

Soak the cashews in the hot water for 1-2 hours. Process in a food processor until semi-smooth.

Add half of the avocado and the lemon juice to the food processor, process until smooth. Add the basil, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic, salt, and pepper and process until very smooth.

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice zucchini lengthwise and then into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Remove woody ends from the asparagus and slice into 2 inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss zucchini and asparagus with olive oil. Arrange on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; roast in 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

Mix together cooked quinoa, vegetables, and dressing. Cube the other half of the avocado and arrange it on top of the quinoa.

Chicken Addition for the Meat-Lovers

Ingredients:

1-2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
 

In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat, add garlic and cook until browned and fragrant, about three minutes. Add sliced chicken breasts, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sautee until browned and cooked thoroughly, about ten minutes.