Progressive Christmas Tea Party: Warm Arugula Salad with Roasted Asparagus

I always like to include a few recipes that can be used by those who don’t like to cook or bake. This pretty Christmas red and green salad is simple to put together but it looks as though it took a lot of trouble.

1 big bunch of thin asparagus
4 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette
1 cup roasted red pepper strips, buy the jarred kind or make them yourself
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
8 cups baby arugula, trimmed and torn into pieces

Preheat oven to 400ยบ. Rinse the asparagus spears, pat dry, and snap off and discard the tough ends. Place the asparagus in a shallow baking pan, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake the asparagus until it just begins to take on a roasted appearance, 5 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the balsamic vinaigrette in a small saucepan over low heat. Do not let it come to a boil.

Remove the baking pan from the oven and toss the red pepper strips and olives with the hot asparagus. Either divide the arugula among 8 plates or place the salad in a bowl. Top it with the asparagus mixture. Spoon the warmed dressing over the salad and serve at once. Makes 8 servings.