I think one of the most frustrating things about meal time with my children is getting them to eat their vegetables, especially green ones, beyond the obligatory two bites. Vegetables taste and look exactly the opposite of anything that is remotely appetizing to a child thanks to all of the fun, colorful, sweet, and flavorful packaged convenience foods they like so much. But these perfectly crunchy asparagus fries are ready to take on the kid taste test challenge, as they combine two aspects in food that at least opens the door for kids to try and maybe even like (?) a green vegetable.
First, asparagus fries are a finger food! All kids (even big ones) like foods they can eat with their hands. Any time you can package a food in a way that looks less intimidating is a step in the right direction. The thin green stalks of asparagus, when hidden by a little gluten free breading and spices, make a decent attempt at mimicking an all time kid favorite – the French fry.
Second, asparagus fries can be dipped. Condiments work miracles on any food. To a kid, ketchup makes everything taste better. Plus, dipping his or her food in the condiment of choice allows a kid to personalize the taste and have a say in how he or she is going to enjoy the food. Every parent knows that kids love have a say in just about everything, including what and how they want to eat their food.
Asparagus is one of the many green vegetables that comes in season during spring, and like other green vegetables, asparagus is loaded with all kinds of nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, and K and folate plus some trace minerals like chromium, which helps regulate blood sugar. Asparagus is also particularly rich in the “mother of all antioxidants” – glutathione – a strong detoxifier and immune system booster. And, asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine, which is a natural diuretic – every lady’s best friend.
To make asparagus fries, I first dusted some clean asparagus stalks with a couple tablespoons of almond flour.
Next, I prepared a breading for the fries by combining almond flour, flax seed meal, and homemade vegan parmesan cheese. To make my parmesan cheese imitation, I processed together some pine nuts, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
I cracked an egg into a long enough bowl to fit the asparagus and dredged the stalks in the beaten egg until they were completely coated.
I then rolled the egg-coated asparagus in the breading and placed the stalks in a single layer in a greased baking dish. Another option would be to lay them out flat on a parchment lined baking sheet.
I baked the asparagus fries for about 22 minutes and made sure to taste test for desired crunchiness before turning off my oven. Although my kids prefer to dip theirs in ketchup, my dip of choice is a lemon hummus I picked up at Whole Foods.
crunchy asparagus fries
Recipe type: snack, side dish, vegetable
1 bunch asparagus, washed and ends removed
½ cup almond flour, plus 2 tablespoons
¼ cup flax seed meal or finely ground flax seed
¼ cup pine nuts
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
On a large dish, lay out asparagus and dust with 2 tablespoons almond flour.
In a food processor, process together pine nuts, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper to make a vegan parmesan cheese.
In a small bowl, combine this vegan parmesan cheese, almond flour, and flax seed meal to make the breading for the fries.
Transfer the breading to a large plate.
Crack the egg into a long bowl, and whisk with a fork until beaten.
Dredge asparagus stalks through the beaten egg.
Then roll each egg-coated stalk in the breading mixture.
Lay the breaded asparagus stalks in a single layer in a greased baking pan or parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until desired crunchiness is achieved.