Not all nuts are created equal. I have a particular fondness for almonds, pistachios and even hazelnuts on a good day. I adore cashews as well, although they have saturated fats. Walnuts, I do not like as much. Pecans, neither.
But I still use walnuts in my meals. All those omega-3s are good for me, right? Beyond their health benefits, I find they can whip up to be nice and creamy, and have worked well in my energy balls and create a nice base for muhammara, the delicious Middle Eastern roasted red pepper and walnut dip. However, I find that baklava is brought to the next level when you substitute the (traditional) walnuts for pistachios.
With my recent adoration of all things miso, I decided to forge ahead and combine miso with walnuts in this warm asparagus and carrot salad. Adapted from Color Me Vegan, you create a lovely miso-walnut dip with mirin, tamari and rice vinegar. It was sweet and creamy and spread nicely over the warm vegetables. Thankfully in Southwestern Ontario, local asparagus can still be found! It paired well with the asparagus and carrots, but do not let that stop you from trying other vegetables.
I also loved this as a cold dip with freshly-cut vegetables as well (again, carrots worked well!). However, then you’ll need to make a lot more of the dip, because it will disappear quickly!
Asparagus and Carrot Salad with a Miso-Walnut Dressing
1 bunch of asparagus (400g), with thick ends removed
4 carrots (250g), peeled and finely sliced into 1-inch matchsticks
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tsp white/light miso
2 tbsp mirin
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar or any white vinegar
1. Steam the asparagus and carrots for 3-5 minutes, until softer but still crispy.
2. Using a food processor, blend together the walnuts, miso, mirin, tamari, and rice vinegar.
3. In a large bowl, mix the carrots and asparagus with the dressing, and arrange on a serving plate. I just drizzled the dressing overtop the vegetables. The dressing is also fabulous as a dip.
The dressing will keep, refrigerated, for a couple weeks.