This Asparagus Broccoli Salad Is Perfect for Picnics and Backyard Barbecues

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.

Broccoli and asparagus salad, with radishes and parmesan cheese, arranged on a white serving platter beside a halved lemon, fresh vegetables, and a serving spoon on a speckled gray and white surface.

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.

Top-down view of a white, rectangular, ceramic serving dish of broccoli and asparagus salad with radishes and shaved parmesan cheese, with a serving spoon, a bowl of onion dressing, and cut lemons.

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.

A serving dish of vegetable salad is in the foreground, with fresh lemon, broccoli, and asparagus in the background, with a white cloth and a serving spoon.

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.

Asparagus broccoli salad arranged on a white ceramic serving platter, garnished with thinly sliced parmesan cheese, with the rinds of a juiced lemon, vegetables, and a small dish of onion dressing in the background.

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.

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A white, square plate of sautéed asparagus and broccoli with thinly sliced radishes and parmesan cheese, with whole vegetables and a cut lemon in soft focus in the background.

Asparagus and Broccoli Salad


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Side Dish

Description

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.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, onion, and olive oil. Stir in the toasted almonds, and set aside.
  2. Stir in the toasted almonds. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, toss well, and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for one minute.
  5. 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.
  6. Plate and finish with some shaved Parmesan cheese before serving.

Notes

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.

Four small glass bowls of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and minced onion, on a gray and white speckled background with a halved and juiced lemon in the background.

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.

An onion and lemon juice mixture i a small glass dish, with a just-squeezed lemon in the background.

Stir in the toasted almonds.

Closeup of a glass dish of onion and almond citrus salad dressing, with a squeezed lemon that has been cut in half and juiced, on a speckled gray background.

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.

Closely cropped image of a large frying pan filled with chopped asparagus and broccoli.

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.

Sautéed vegetables in a frying pan.

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.

A frying pan full of chopped green vegetables, thinly sliced radishes, and lemon zest, being stirred with a wooden spoon.

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.

A white, square plate of sautéed asparagus and broccoli with thinly sliced radishes and parmesan cheese, with whole vegetables and a cut lemon in soft focus in the background.

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!


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing various views of an asparagus broccoli salad recipe.

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.

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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.

17 thoughts on “This Asparagus Broccoli Salad Is Perfect for Picnics and Backyard Barbecues”

  1. I’m just adoring asparagus lately, munching away happily where ever I find it in my diet. Looks like a tasty salad, it would feed my broccoli addiction too!

  2. Oh that looks so good! I have a question, can this stay overnight or does the asparagus get too soggy? I would like to enjoy it for more than one day if I could!

  3. Dana, Indeed – healthy and tasty!

    Jessica, Absolutely – I kind of liked it best the first day, but it didn’t get soggy after a few days…. it was just my personal preference. Go for it!

  4. Asparagus is one of the vegetables that my husband and I agree upon (though I agree on many, he agrees on three!) so it’s a regular purchase for us. This sounds like an easy and delicious new way to prepare – can’t wait to give it a try!

  5. hey! i am in the 55 knives book and just had to say that i cannot wait to try those scones. i mean that topping alone had me thinking about it all day. congrats!

  6. Hannah, You’re so sweet. And I always get hungry when I see/hear about food at midnight, too!

    Lisa, Happy asparagus enjoying together!

    JessieV, Yay!

    VanillaSugar, Oh good! Nick did a great job with that project – hope you love the scones!

  7. And now I want asparagus salad. Dang, that sounds amazing! But isn’t it weird how that works? I made a fantastic chocolate & peanut butter cake a year ago, and just now remembered how much I loved it and how I had planned on making it again as soon as I could. Maybe you can appreciate those things better when you take the ideas out and dust them off months later…

  8. Mixed grill with saffron rice is my asparagus salad story. It has been at least two summers since I made this dish that was so amazing that I actually took pics of it (I am not a food blogger so it was a big deal to photograph it). It is so amazing that I feel I need to share it with others the next time I make it.

  9. There are so many cuisines, dishes, and cooking methods to try out that it’s easy to be “over the moon” about something new every week! But that means it’s always wonderful (and surprising) to rediscover one of those old flames a year later, you know?

  10. I know what you mean. Sometimes the timing is off, but the memory is there. This salad will be at a party I”m doing next week. It has everything in it I love.

    P.S. You will appreciate my last post. I’m getting bolder with who I am.

  11. Caitlin, I like that way of looking at it. It’s like we’ll return to what we’re supposed to when we’re supposed to.

    TJ, Ha!

    Vicki, I love that you photographed it! And I really need to try saffron something sometime!

    Maddie, Indeed it is!

    Angela, Enjoyed your post – I love that you’re getting bolder. Keep it up!

    Julie, I love it too! And now’s the right season for it!

  12. i brought home 2 bundles of fresh asparagus last night from the farmers market and only used one. i think that i am going to use that 2nd bundle and make this salad!

  13. Jarrelle, If you won’t start a food blog, will you please move to Chicago? I don’t think I’m asking too much. We can be market buddies and cooking buddies, and I’ll cheer you on at your triathalons. What do you think? : )

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