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This fruity asparagus salad is a perfect way to combine a medley of fresh ingredients, and it is particularly useful to have up your sleeve if you are an avid gardener!
When my father planted asparagus from seed for the first time, we were so tickled by the way it grew – each individual stem sticking straight up from the ground, green and proud!
Since he was simply having fun and experimenting with its growth in our garden – and we have our sister site Gardener’s Path to thank for all the helpful advice with growing this veggie – the yield that first season wasn’t anything outrageously bountiful.
Especially compared to the jungle of tomato plants and herbs in the garden beds, and all the wild berries scattered around our backyard fence, the green stalks were just a small, humble addition to the group.
Supplemented by all of these fresh ingredients, even this small harvest of tender, slightly sweet spears provided enough to make a bright and colorful salad.
And the combination is a vibrant masterpiece with exceptional flavors!
Blanching the spears and immediately shocking them in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process will yield an addictively crisp-tender texture, while maintaining a brilliant green color.
And after completing a minimal amount of prep – just slicing the produce, chopping the herbs, and measuring the condiments and seasonings – you gently combine everything in a large bowl and serve!
While I’m partial to using strawberries and tomatoes here, you can change up the fruit depending on what’s in season. Just add your favorites in equal proportions to feature your preferred favorites – as long as you choose options that are tasty and ripe, this recipe is open to personal interpretation.
With all of these potential variations, I might need to request that my dad grow a lot of extra asparagus for more salads this coming season!Print
Looking for a fun and fresh salad recipe? Ditch the greens, and make this fruity asparagus salad with tart strawberries and juicy tomatoes.
- 1 pound green asparagus
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives, divided
- Fine kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Boil 8 cups of water in a large pot. Season with 2 tablespoons of salt. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, and set it aside.
- Trim the lower third of each asparagus stalk to remove the fibrous end.
- Carefully transfer the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 1-3 minutes depending on thickness.
- Drain the asparagus in a colander and immediately transfer to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and cool completely, about 5 minutes. Drain and fill the bowl with more ice and water if the ice melts.
- Drain the cold asparagus in a colander or remove from the water with tongs. Dry the stalks with a clean kitchen towel and transfer to a cutting board. Slice in 2-inch pieces.
- Place the asparagus, strawberries, tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon chives in a large serving bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Pour the dressing into the large serving bowl and gently toss with tongs or a sturdy spatula until the fruit and vegetables are combined and coated with the oil and vinegar. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of chopped chives and serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Method: Blanching
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keywords: salad, asparagus, strawberry, tomato, balsamic
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Add about 8 cups of water to a large pot and place on the stove over high heat to bring to a boil.
While the water is heating up, fill a large bowl with cold water and plenty of ice. Set aside.
Set out a colander, a large serving bowl, and tongs or a sturdy spatula for stirring.
Rinse the asparagus, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes.
Trim the lower third of each asparagus stalk to remove the woody, fibrous ends.
Slice off the tops of the strawberries and halve each fruit. Halve the cherry tomatoes. You may need to quarter larger strawberries and cherry tomatoes.
Finely chop the chives, reserving 1 tablespoon for the final garnish.
Measure out the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Set out some fine kosher salt, measuring out two tablespoons for blanching the asparagus and more for seasoning the salad to taste.
Grind the black pepper – it will make a considerable difference in flavor when you crack whole peppercorns fresh for use in this recipe rather than using pre-ground pepper! Consider purchasing MannKitchen’s pepper grinder for quick and consistent results.
Step 2 – Blanch the Asparagus
As soon as the water comes to a rolling boil, add two tablespoons of salt. Carefully transfer the asparagus to the boiling water.
Quickly cook for one to three minutes – the required time for blanching will vary depending on how thick the stalks are. The thicker they are, the more time it will take.
Blanching is an incredibly fast process used to yield a crisp-tender texture. Don’t overcook, or you’ll end up with soft and mushy spears!
Check their progress by carefully removing one stalk after one minute has passed – if the tip of a paring knife can be inserted easily with just a little resistance, the vegetables are ready.
Quickly drain the spears by pouring the contents of the pot through a colander into your kitchen sink.
Step 3 – Cool the Asparagus
Immediately transfer the drained stalks to the bowl that you filled with ice water – “shocking” them in an ice bath stops the cooking process instantly, helping to maintain both the texture and color of the vegetables.
Allow the asparagus to cool completely in the ice bath. You may need to drain and replace the ice and water if you notice the ice is melting too quickly.
Step 4 – Slice the Asparagus
When completely cooled, after about five minutes or so, remove the spears from the bowl by draining the water or using tongs.
I recommend drying them with a kitchen towel to remove excess water – you don’t want the water to dilute the seasonings!
Place the vegetables on a cutting board and slice each stalk into 2-inch pieces.
For this laid back salad, the size of each piece does not have to be exact, so don’t worry about precise measurements here.
Step 5 – Combine Ingredients in a Bowl
Place the prepped asparagus, strawberries, tomatoes, and chives in a large serving bowl or wooden salad bowl.
Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a separate small bowl to make a simple dressing.
Drizzle the dressing over the contents of the serving bowl. Using your tongs or a flexible spatula, gently mix all of the ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix one more time. Taste and readjust the seasonings again if necessary.
Step 6 – Garnish and Serve
Garnish the salad with the extra chopped chives that you reserved, and serve immediately.
The mixed produce will become soggy very quickly, so it is best to serve this dish directly before serving.
If you are planning ahead, all of the individual ingredients can be prepped separately a day in advance, including the blanched and sliced spears. Just store them in the refrigerator, keeping the chives in a separate container, and wait to dress the salad until just before serving.
When you’re ready to serve, mix everything together in your serving bowl.
Consider Some Crunch. Or Cheese!
Simple to prepare and a breeze to assemble, this asparagus and fruit medley will become an instant classic on your dinner table.
While amazing on its own, it’s easy to add even more flair – and who could resist including some fun textures and more dynamic nuances of flavor the second and third time around?
And for all the curd nerds out there, this recipe would be a natural companion to any tangy and acidic fresh or lightly aged cheese – serve the salad topped with crumbled feta, ricotta salata, or fresh chevre.
You can also mix the ingredients together with creamy, springy mozzarella for a fruiter spin on a caprese salad, similar to our peach caprese version!
For easy prep, buy small balls of mozzarella like ciliegine or bocconcini, and drain them well before adding to the serving bowl.
Do you think you’ll include any additional ingredients, or would you rather serve this tasty salad as is? Do you have any other fruits or vegetables that you like to use instead of strawberries and tomatoes? Don’t forget to leave a comment below with your ideas.
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- Asparagus Broccoli Salad
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Nina-Kristin Isensee on April 25, 2015. Last updated on January 31, 2023.
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 Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.