If you’ve never had asparagus salad, or if the concept of chilled asparagus is foreign to you, you aren’t alone.
My mother first introduced me to her asparagus salad this year and I fell in love. I’ve always enjoyed cooked asparagus, as long as it isn’t mushy (the worst!). My version is tweaked from hers and dressed up a little.
I’ve served asparagus roasted with blue cheese, sauteed with Parmesan cheese, and steamed with butter and lemon. It has featured in many of my meal preps over the years.
However, now that I know I can put it in a chilled salad that I don’t have to re-heat and risk it getting soggy, I’m super happy.
There are a few tricks to preparing the asparagus perfectly so that it’s nice and crispy-tender and flavourful for salad like this which I’ll show you below.
The other key component to this salad is the vinaigrette. It is made with sweet-tart balsamic vinegar and reduced slightly so that it provides a thick, not watery dressing to cling to all of the salad components. You can certainly used a bottled balsamic dressing here, but I think the homemade version is worth the effort!
How to Make Asparagus Salad
First off, we need to cook the asparagus properly so that is remains crisp and flavourful and doesn’t turn into mush.
To do this, just blanch the asparagus in boiling water. First, trim or snap off the woody ends of your spears. Add about 2lbs (907g) to a pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. I recommend medium sized for this recipe.
Next, you will make your vinaigrette.
Measure out 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pot over medium high heat. Reduce the vinegar to about half and place in a bowl or jar.
Meanwhile, toast some walnuts (approx 80g or 2/3 cup) until fragrant and allow to cool slightly.
Chop your asparagus into 2 inch pieces and place in your dish. Add about 300g of halved grape tomatoes and about 120g of feta cheese, crumbled on top. Add cooled walnuts.
Finally, add dressing. You can do this right before serving, on individual plates, or mix it all in for convenience if you are using this recipe for meal prep, like I did. It doesn’t look as colourful and appealing when you do this, but it is certainly easier.
You can also mix in the dressing and leave half of your feta and walnuts to top off the salad after mixing so that it looks more appealing for presentation if you’re bringing this to a pot luck, BBQ, or picnic.
Asparagus Salad & BBQ Chicken Meal Prep
I made this salad pictured here to go with my Maple Bourbon BBQ Chicken meal prep. I also added some Lighter Potato Salad to round out the meal and add healthy carbs! You can also try it with Mini Meatloaves, Chicken Cacciatore with Spaghetti Squash, or Creamy Tomato Basil Chicken.
For another lovely asparagus salad, try this Roasted Asparagus Salad with Cranberries and Feta from A Food Lover’s Kitchen
Asparagus Salad with Feta, Tomatoes, Walnuts, and Balsamic Dressing
- 2 lbs asparagus 907g
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 2 tsp of honey or maple syrup
- 2 tsp of dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 80 g walnuts 2/3 cup
- 300 g of halved grape tomatoes
- 120 g of feta cheese crumbled
- Blanche asparagus by boiling for 3-5 minutes and then immediately removing and placing in ice water.
- Measure out 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pot over medium high heat. Reduce the vinegar to about half and place in a bowl or jar.
- Add a clove of minced garlic, honey or maple syrup, dijon mustard, olive oil and mix. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, toast some walnuts until fragrant and allow to cool slightly.
- Chop your asparagus into 2 inch pieces and place in your dish. Add halved grape tomatoes and feta cheese, crumbled on top. Add cooled walnuts.
- Serve immediately with dressing or store in fridge with dressing separate.