This was the first homemade asparagus salad I ever attempted, and I have to say, I was surprised by just how easy it is to make.
The first time I tried asparagus salad, I was quite shocked by how deliciously refreshing it was.
Personally, I am the one who always defaults to roasting asparagus in the oven, cooking it on the outdoor grill, or wrapping it up in aluminum foil to cook over an open fire.
Having this green, fresh vegetable in a salad was never something that I thought I would like, but after trying it crisp and tender in this kind of recipe, it was like experiencing asparagus for the first time all over again.
With a little acid and a lot of varying texture, asparagus really sings in this kind of dish. It stays crisp and bright, without losing any of its flavor.
The arrival of spring and the gradual transition into the long days of summer is the time for making salads to go with those heavier main grilled dishes like ribs, burgers, chicken, and so much more.
Whether you are going to a backyard barbecue or packing up sandwiches and cold foods to bring on a picnic, you can guarantee that this recipe will go well with whatever is being served.
It’s a dish that celebrates fresh, crisp vegetables. But the real hero that really brings this salad together is the unique dressing that coats the asparagus and broccoli, bringing big flavor as well as some additional textural elements.
Broccolini also makes a nice alternative to the broccoli, if it’s available.
Thick and chunky dressing with onion and toasted almonds, it has a ton of texture that is a lovely complement to the bright green vegetables that are the star of the salad.
The onion gives a little bite that brings out the brightness in the lemon juice and zest. The toasted almonds have a roasted flavor that brings depth to the salad that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
It’s a little crazy just how easy this recipe is to whip up. You can even make it hours ahead of time, letting it sit in the refrigerator and allowing the flavors to meld together in the best way.
All you have to do is partially cook the vegetables (which, in other words, means sauteeing them lightly, for literally a minute), whip up a quick dressing, and stir it all together.
Seriously, it’s that easy. Perfect for the warm weather when you don’t want to spend your time hovering over a hot stove, it’s a snap to pull together, and everyone will be asking you for the recipe at every event where you serve it up at.
If you need the quintessential summer salad, try this one. In less than a handful of short and easy steps, you’ll have a bright and refreshing side dish to pair with every meal you dream up this summer.Print
Want to really wow your crowd? Try this easy asparagus and broccoli salad. This light side dish is perfect for any backyard barbecue or picnic.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt, to taste
- 1/4 small onion, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 12 asparagus spears, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins
- 6 broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- Zest of one lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Shaved Parmesan, to taste
- To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, onion, and olive oil. Stir in the toasted almonds, and set aside.
- Stir in the toasted almonds. Set aside.
- To cook the veggies, coat a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the asparagus and broccoli.
- Sprinkle with salt, toss well, and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for one minute.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the radishes and lemon zest. Toss with 1/3 of the dressing, try a piece, and add more to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Plate and finish with some shaved Parmesan cheese before serving.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks.
Keywords: salad, asparagus, broccoli, lemon, radish, onion, almond
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure
Wash all of the vegetables well, and prepare them as outlined in the ingredients list.
If your almonds are not already toasted, do this now.
In a small, dry frying pan, toast the almonds over medium heat, tossing frequently. Don’t walk away, since they can burn quickly! Remove immediately from the heat when they are light golden brown.
Measure remaining ingredients and set aside.
Step 2 – Make the Dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, onion, and olive oil.
Stir in the toasted almonds.
The dressing is more of a thicker, chunky dressing rather than a thin liquid vinaigrette. Set aside, or place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to dress the salad.
Step 3 – Cook the Vegetables
Add a little olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Once the pan is hot, add the asparagus and broccoli, and a few pinches of salt. Toss to coat, cover, and cook for one minute.
You do not want to overcook the vegetables. They should be bright green and crisp tender after a minute.
If you like them a little softer, stir, cover, and cook for one more minute. But keep in mind that the residual heat from the pan will continue to cook the veggies a bit longer as you finish the dish.
Remove from heat.
Step 4 – Add Final Ingredients and Dressing
Stir in the radishes and lemon zest. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.
Add one-third of the dressing and toss to coat. Taste and add more dressing as desired. You may have some dressing left over, which you can save for another use.
Serve immediately on a large platter. Garnish with shaved parmesan.
Bring Out the Freshness of This Season’s Vegetables
If you know what parboiling vegetables is, you know that it brings out the crispness of the vegetables without them being completely raw. The cooking method for this salad is quite similar, except without the hassle of boiling water or making an ice bath.
You simply flash cook them in a hot skillet for a minute, and you end up getting a similar effect to parboiling asparagus and broccoli. And there’s just enough residual heat to help infuse them with warm citrus flavor before serving.
The vegetables come out crisp and slightly tender, so you aren’t eating raw veggies, but there’s still some texture to the salad itself.
This, paired with the acid of the lemon and the roasted richness of the almonds, really makes this side dish something special.
Delicious served warm or cold, you can take it right from the stove to the picnic table, or dress the vegetables and then store it in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat.
When you try the recipe, be sure to tell us what you think of it below, and leave your rating as well so other readers will know how much you enjoyed it!
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Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on May 27th, 2010. Last updated: June 1, 2018 at 19:02 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.