This salad was inspired by one I had recently at The Cheesecake Factory. I honestly don’t know how I managed to eat something healthy at that restaurant, the menu is like a novel and everything I’ve had there in the past has made me buy stretchy pants before leaving the mall. I don’t even know how healthy this salad really was because it had quite a bit of oil on it. It IS on the Skinnylicious menu so it, at least by Cheesecake Factory terms, is “skinny”.

Surprisingly, it was bursting with flavor and so simple, easily able to be duplicated at home. I just wanted a little less oil….and more flavor to the dressing.

I opted to turn the sun-dried tomatoes that they used into a dressing but instead of using purchased sun-dried tomatoes I thought I’d roast some of my own. I can’t stop eating the vinaigrette. I’ve been dipping everything I can think of into it, carrots, spoons, crackers…I stopped at cookies. I did consider it though.

Warm Asparagus Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette - The Suburban Soapbox

Roasting my own tomatoes was definitely the right choice. Which is awesome because I’ve had quite a few recipe fails in the past week. I may need to replace a waffle iron because a recipe went terribly awry. It was a sad day in the kitchen.

Aside from the dressing, which can be made days in advance, this salad comes together extremely quickly. You can skip the fried egg if you’re not an egg person but the yolk provides a richness that is paramount to the overall flavor. I also added shaved parmesan to the salad at the end but forgot to add it before the photos were shot. Use the parm….it’s saltiness gave it another level of flavor that plain salt just can’t duplicate. Plus, everything’s better with cheese. You know it’s true.

Warm Asparagus Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette - The Suburban Soapbox

As my husband said, this is a much more fun way to eat asparagus.

Warm Asparagus Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Warm Asparagus Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Serves 2 and makes approximately 8 ounces of dressing

2 1/2 cups grape tomatoes

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoon olive oil, divided

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I use Maille)

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 teaspoons honey

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1 pound fresh asparagus, woody ends removed

2 large eggs

shaved parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for approximately 2-2 1/2 hours or until the tomatoes are roasted and beginning to brown. Remove and let cool slightly.

In a blender or the bowl of a food processor, combine the tomatoes, mustard, vinegar and honey until well blended. Slowly add 1/2 cup of olive oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a small saute pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over med-high heat and saute the asparagus until bright green but still crisp, approximately 3-4 minutes. Transfer to two salad plates and top each with 1/2 the pine nuts. Dress each salad with two tablespoons of vinaigrette and set aside.

In a separate frying pan coated with cooking spray, fry each egg to the desired degree of doneness (I like mine with a runny yolk) and  top each salad with an egg. Sprinkle with parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Leftover dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.