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Nearly three years ago my family spent Easter in Oak Ridge TN. Sadly it wasn’t the happy family gathering one would expect. We had gathered at my grandparent’s home to surround my grandfather with love as he slowly died of lung cancer. We were emotionally drained and meal planning was not even a thought, much less a priority. A lovely neighbor, Caramia, prepared us a delicious meal. One of the dishes she brought was this salad. It was so fresh and the bright flavors helped us break through our fog of grief for a brief moment. We actually managed to enjoy the meal, despite the sadness in the air. Perhaps it was because her kindness reminded us that there was goodness in the world just outside our walls. Every time I fix this salad I am reminded of Caramia and the importance of giving to others while they grieve. I am reminded of how much I miss my grandfather and I rejoice that I was blessed to have him in my life.

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Roasted Asparagus and Mixed Pepper Salad

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1 red and orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slices
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard (GF)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the asparagus and peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet and gently coat with a bit of olive oil.  Roast 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, turning half way through to prevent burning. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a bowl, toss together the asparagus, bell peppers, onion, almond slices, and Parmesan cheese (if you are making this in advance, don’t add the Parm until you are about to serve it). In a separate bowl, mix the 1/3 cup olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, lime juice, sugar, and hot sauce. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat. Refrigerate then serve.

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