Avocado, asparagus and grapefruit: Making dinner easy and your body proud

Enjoy a great salad without compromising on dressing. Grapefruit takes the lead in this tasty vinaigrette.

Brighten the flavors in your salads and add some flair to your penne dish with this recipe from Chef Andra Chisholm. She joins the Bluff City Life Kitchen with Janeen Gordon to show how quick and easy it is to make  this lunch or dinner dish!

Spring Vegetable Penne with Lemon-Cream Sauce

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¾ cup Sweet Yellow Onion

¼ cup Red Onion

¼ cup Red Bell Pepper

1 stalk of Lemongrass

1- 4 ounce package of Shiitake Mushrooms

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour

½ cup Salt-Free Chicken Stock

½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream

¾ cup Frozen Green Peas

5 Tablespoons Shaved Parmesan Cheese

½ teaspoon Lemon Zest

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Pepper

8 ounces Pasta of your choice

1 pound Asparagus


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, shallots, lemongrass and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle mushroom mixture evenly with flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and half-and-half; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add peas, 2 tablespoons cheese, rind, and next 3 ingredients (through pepper); cook 1 minute or until peas are thoroughly heated.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add asparagus to pan; drain. Add pasta mixture to mushroom mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cheese.

Spring Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons

For the chickpea croutons:

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

2 pink or ruby red grapefruits

2 avocados

80 g mixed micro greens or mesclun mix

4 tsp za’atar mix for topping

For the dressing:

2 tbsp grapefruit juice

1.5 tbsp runny honey

30 ml extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt and pepper, to taste


For the chickpea croutons:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the rinsed and drained chickpeas with the olive oil, salt and several generous grinds of black pepper Mix well, so the chickpeas are evenly coated.
  3. Place the chickpeas on a baking tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, shaking the tray occasionally, until the chickpeas are nicely browned, crisp and beginning to split open. You want them to be nice and crunchy so bake a little longer if you’re on the fence.
  4. Once nicely browned and crisp, turn off the oven and set the chickpeas aside to cool down.

For the dressing:

  1. Combine 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice that you collected with the honey, lemon juice, olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper in a small jar or bowl. Mix well and taste for seasoning, adding more chili, honey, lemon or salt as you desire.

To assemble:

  1. For each serving, place a generous handful of greens into a wide shallow bowl or plate. Arrange the grapefruit segments and avocados on top of the greens, add a generous handful of chickpea croutons and a drizzle or two of dressing. Finally, finish off with a sprinkle of za’atar and enjoy!