I LOVE cooking. Mostly because I love eating and I really appreciate a well done, cooked homemade meal. There is nothing like it. I grew up on home-cooked meals and would love how in each season our meals changed. For the most part, we ate seasonally. Whatever fruits and vegetables were in abundance and local at that time of the year, they were on our dinner plate.
When I think of April, I think of the beginning of fresh and lighter meals. It’s getting warmer out, and we are getting outside more, and have a little bit of a spring in our step, no pun intended. 😉 Some of the foods that first come to mind when I think of the spring season are asparagus, peas, and artichokes.
The recipe below was inspired by my friend Michelle, and when I say inspired I mean she legit gave me the recipe. She is honestly a DON when it comes to cooking. Every time I go to her house she makes these unbelievable meals, that always have me going up for seconds if not thirds. This is one of those “can’t get enough of it” meals.
We present to you, Asparagus, Snap Pea Brown Rice Salad topped with Mashed Sweet Potato and homemade Pesto covered Cod. Mic drop.
Orzo, Brown Rice, or Pasta
Snap Peas (Frozen)
Asparagus – cute in 1 or ½ inch length
Sweet Potatoes 1 or 2
Basil – 4 cups
Parmesan cheese – 1 cup
Garlic – 2 cloves
1-½ cups of olive oil
Step 1: Cook the Orzo, Brown Rice or Pasta as directed. I ended up using brown rice because that is what I had in my cabinets.
Add 1 or 2 sweet potatoes into the oven. Put fork holes into the potato then wrap it in aluminum paper before putting in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
Step 2: Cut the asparagus into ½ inches, then steam them in a pan on the stove. To steam vegetables, put them in the pan and add in water so it just about covers them up, not 100% covered. Then I cover it and bring it to a boil. I typically try the vegetables once it’s boiling to see how much longer it needs.
Step 3: This is when I started making the pesto.
I only have a blender, but this would also work really well in a magic bullet or food processor. I started out cutting 4 cups of basil into long strips and mincing 2 cloves of garlic. Then I measured out ½ cup of olive oil and the cup of parmesan cheese. Start by adding the olive oil and garlic and slowly add the basil and parmesan cheese. Mix it at a low setting and once it is blending well, then slowly add more basil and cheese in. Add more olive oil as needed to make sure there is enough liquid to mix.
I put that in a mason jar and set it aside. It made way more than I needed, but I will use that for other meals this week. Homemade pesto is INFINITELY better than store-bought.
Step 4: Start combining the ingredients for the rice mixture. Once the rice was cooked I added in cherry tomatoes cut into fourths, and around ½ cups of peas to the rice. I then added ¼ of a red onion chopped small, 2-3 tablespoons of capers, and the asparagus once it was cooked. I squeezed in ¼ of a lemon. I added salt to taste.
I added the tomatoes, peas, and asparagus by sight so these aren’t exact measurements. I would start with a handful or two that I thought would be needed, then added it in, mixed it in, and added more if I wanted to. This way you make it more to your liking.
This can be set aside and eaten warmed or cooled.
Step 5: Cook the cod.
I used cod, but you can really use any thicker white fish. Take out the cod, add a little lemon juice on top. Then take the sweet potatoes out of the aluminum foil and peel the skin off then mash it up as is. Then plop however much you want on top of each piece of fish, I love sweet potatoes so mine was a large plop. Then top that with the homemade pesto.
I am the condiment queen, so I don’t skimp out on my toppings, but you can add what looks good.
Then bake the cod for 20 ish minutes.
Once the cod is cooked, put it right on top of a bowl of that rice mixture, and enjoy it. =]