Asparagus day

Today we started our meal with a fairly common dish: asparagus cream soup. We followed this up with something completely new, however, a polenta dish with an onion and olive sauce. We finished the meal with an asparagus and brown bean salad, which is also a bit of an unusual combination.

Asparagus is an interesting vegetable. We have already written about it, including its nutritional value, the effect on the smell of urine, and its use as an aphrodisiac.  Asparagus is a very low-calorie food, with 100 g of asparagus containing less than 20 calories (in other words, about 1% of your daily caloric requirements). It also contains many important nutrients, being an excellent source of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants. Since they are high in minerals and low in calories, the nutrient density of minerals in asparagus is quite high. Nutrient density tells us about the number of individual nutrients in relation to daily energy needs. As such, the nutrient density of asparagus is over 100% for all minerals, with the exception of sodium, which we often have too much of in our diets anyway (for example, from bread). For iron, the nutrient density if as much as 1600% (Yikes! Popeye is jealous!). This means that we get 16% of our iron needs for 1% of our caloric needs. For zinc, it is 600%, magnesium 400%, and for calcium, it is 200%. It also has high nutrient densities for all vitamins; vitamin K is 4000%, folic acid is 1300%, and so on, with only vitamins D and B12 absent, as they are in all unfortified plant foods. This high content of vitamins is good for our health and we do not need to worry about consuming too much from such a healthy source as vegetables. The exception is vitamin K, which may reduce the effectiveness of some medications used for reducing blood clotting. So, people who use drugs for this purpose should be careful not to eat too much asparagus.


Recipe, preparation, and cost

 

Quantity

(g or ml)

Price for 4 person (EUR)

Soup

Asparagus

250

2,50

Potato

200

0,30

Buckwheat

40

0,49

Salt

4

0,00

Main dish

Polenta

300

0,29

Onion

150

0,15

Olives

20

0,07

Flax seed flour

10

0,05

Olive oil

10

0,05

Peanut butter

15

0,12

Salt

3

0,00

Salat

Asparagus

350

3,49

Beans

200

0,74

Olive oil

20

0,12

Salt

6

0,00

Together

7,51

 

 

We used the lower part of the asparagus stalks (the bit that is hard and contains more fibre) to make our soup and used the nice top bits for the salad. Though we were using them for soup, we still cut the bases into smaller parts to better cook through the tough fibres. These were cooked in water with potatoes for about 20 minutes before we blended everything together with our stick mixer. We then added Tartary buckwheat to the soup and cooked it for another 10 minutes. If you wanted to speed up the process, you could always cook the buckwheat at the same time as the soup and then add it in already cooked. In order to preserve the taste of the ingredients, we did not add in highly aromatic spices, but did use a little bit of salt.

For our main course, we cooked our polenta up in salted water and then poured it into an oiled bowl where we allowed it to cool and harden into a half dome-like shape. You can use any sort of dish for this, or even leave it in the dish you cooked it in and then simply cut slices out. We also prepared a simple sauce by pan frying onions in olive oil until softened. We then added a tablespoon of tahini (sesame seed butter) and pickled olives, and finally a tablespoon of peanut butter to give a creamy texture and some flaxseed flour to thicken the sauce. You can also use ground flax seeds in place of the flour. However, this will make the sauce a bit gelatinous; to avoid this, simply use another type of flour (ideally something nutritious like buckwheat or whole grain wheat).

For the salad, we cut the tops of the asparagus into bite-sized pieces and cooked them up in olive oil for about 10 minutes. This kept it a bit firm but cooked it enough to be tasty. Those who prefer softer asparagus should cook it in water. We then added the cooked beans to the asparagus and salted it all together, as well as adding a little pepper before drizzling it all with olive oil.

The price for this lunch for 4 people came out to 7.51€, which is 1.8€ per person. Our actual price was much lower than this though since we got the asparagus from the garden. To buy them in a store, however, they are the most expensive ingredient. 


Nutritional value

With lunch consumed quantity

% From daily needs

Energy

514,09

kcal

25,70

Proteins

14,31

g

25,60

Total fats

14,53

g

33,00

Carbohydrates

88,43

g

 

Starch

67,21

g

 

Sugar

7,29

g

 

Fibers

13,89

g

55,60

Calcium (Ca)

90,14

mg

9,00

Iron (Fe)

7,32

mg

73,20

Magnesium (Mg)

182,48

mg

45,60

Phosphorus (P)

377,24

mg

53,90

Potassium (K)

971,70

mg

48,60

Sodium (Na)

1394,41

mg

253,50

Zinc (Zn)

2,96

mg

29,60

Copper (Cu)

0,65

mg

72,50

Manganese (Mn)

1,14

mg

49,50

Selenium (Se)

17,54

µg

35,10

Vitamin A

83,75

µg

8,40

Vitamin E

3,74

mg

24,90

Vitamin D

0,00

µg

0,00

Vitamin C

27,14

mg

27,10

Thiamin (B1)

0,67

mg

51,50

Riboflavin (B2)

0,48

mg

31,70

Niacin (B3)

6,24

mg

43,10

Pantothenic acid (B5)

1,23

mg

20,50

Vitamin B6

0,69

mg

46,10

Folic acid (B9)

138,35

µg

34,60

Vitamin B12

0,00

µg

0,00

Vitamin K

75,64

µg

108,10

 

With today’s lunch we managed to 25% of our caloric needs for the day. Along with this, we managed 25.5% of our daily requirement for protein and 55.6% for fibre. Our meal was also rich in vitamins and minerals. We got as much as 73% of our daily iron requirements, mainly from the asparagus and polenta. For magnesium, we got 45.6% of our daily need, mainly from beans, asparagus, polenta, and buckwheat. We also got 48.6% of our potassium requirements as well as those for other minerals. We fell a bit short on calcium (only 9% of our daily requirement), which could be made up for in other meals with foods such as beans, tofu, broccoli, arugula, soy, chia seeds, or radishes. We did quite well on vitamins, falling short only for vitamin A (8.4%), which is found mainly in carrots, pumpkins, cress, chard, melons, apricots, and sweet potatoes. Vitamins D and B12 were entirely lacking, as is always the case in unfortified vegan foods.

If you have questions about today’s lunch (or ideas for future lunches) then feel free to write to us at info@hungry-pumpkin.com and we will get back to you!

Have a great weekend!

-The Hungry Pumpkin Team

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