Maple Chipotle Corn and Asparagus Salad

By: Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH

Part A:

  • 2 tsp. expeller-pressed coconut oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels shaved off
  • ¾ tsp. chipotle powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper

Part B:

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Part C:

  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 4 Tbsp. cran-raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

Part A-

  1. Warm coconut oil in frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add asparagus to coconut oil, cover, and cook about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add remainder of ingredients in Part A. Cover and shake pan to distribute ingredients.

Part B –

  1. Add lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Cook uncovered over medium heat until all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Part C –

  1. Add pistachios, cran-raisins, and maple syrup and mix well.
  2. Cook for another minute, being careful not to overcook vegetables.
  3. Remove from heat and mix in the nutritional yeast.

Maple Chipotle Corn and Asparagus SaladCorn and its derivative, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), have been the subject of significant controversy recently due to genetic modification of crops. Despite all this, corn remains highly nutritious. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may have a reputation for being bad for you, but it’s important to be aware that HFCS is processed in such a way as to increase its sweetness significantly. Fresh sweet corn actually contains about a quarter the sugar of an apple.

Corn of every variety is packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals in varying concentrations; clues to these can be gleaned from the color of the corn. Yellow corn, like other yellow veggies, is high in carotenoids, most notably lutein and zeaxanthin, while blue corn is high in anthocyanins. Unlike many other fruits and vegetables that lose some nutritional value through cooking, many of the nutrients in corn become easier to absorb and assimilate as a result of cooking.

Corn is a surprising source of protein, with every single cup serving containing about five grams. This is approximately ten percent of the average person’s daily protein requirement. While corn does contain some essential amino acids, it falls short of being considered a complete protein due to insufficient lysine. You can fill in this gap with beans, eggs, poultry or lean meat.

Corn is a great source of folate, a B vitamin needed to metabolize protein. Folate is particularly vital for women who are or could become, pregnant, as a deficiency may lead to certain birth defects early in pregnancy. Folate also helps convert homocysteine into S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe). This is important because high levels of homocysteine can damage the blood vessels. It is also important because SAMe is needed for certain metabolic processes, including synthesizing neurotransmitters.

Corn is high in fiber. Cooked fresh corn on the cob contains about four grams of fiber, including a half a gram of soluble fiber. Studies show that much of the fiber in corn is of the type that nourishes and supports the beneficial bacteria found in the large intestine. Soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels and promote heart health. Corn also has a high water content; about 73 percent of fresh corn is made up of water. The water, fiber, and protein content in corn make it a great part of a weight loss or weight maintenance plan. This doesn’t mean you should eat as much as you wish, however, since a serving of corn also contains 31 grams of carbs.

Corn’s combination of fiber, protein, and B-complex vitamins makes it a great food for stabilizing blood sugar. Fiber and protein both help regulate the passage of food through the digestive tract and the rate at which sugars are absorbed. Studies indicate that corn may help improve fasting glucose and insulin levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The nutritional richness of corn helps the body achieve its dietary needs. A well-rounded diet delivers the diverse variety of nutrients necessary for the body’s well being. A diet lacking in certain nutrients, or that is unbalanced and incorporates too many toxins, causes stress on the body, causing compensatory stress reactions. The intensity and length of these stress reactions can grow to the point that they begin to exert negative effects on the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) systems, which govern the stress responses. As a useful food rich in a diversity of nutrients to boost health, corn can be an important part of a proper health-boosting dietary plan.

The asparagus in this dish ramps up its nutritional value. Asparagus is loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and K, along with chromium and fiber. Chromium has shown to improve the transport of glucose into the cells where it can be used for energy. Asparagus also contains folate, a B vitamin that helps protect against cognitive decline.

The fiber content of asparagus includes a significant amount of inulin. Inulin is a prebiotic, a special type of fiber that is not digested in the small intestine. This allows it to be an ideal food source for beneficial bacteria in the gut that helps improve nutrient absorption.

Maple Chipotle Corn and Asparagus Salad