This cold asparagus salad is a must for asparagus lovers!! It's a simple recipe featuring chilled cooked asparagus with a homemade mustard vinaigrette. No matter how you serve it this asparagus summer salad is so good!
Spring has arrived and the signs are everywhere. The temperature is rising and the days are getting longer. The cherry blossoms bloomed and thousands flocked to catch a glimpse of these gorgeous trees.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite spring vegetables is asparagus and there's nothing like it fresh from the garden.
My grandmother introduced me to this simple asparagus cold salad. It was so refreshing and unlike anything I had experienced before. Her secret was the dressing.
If you're wondering how to cook asparagus healthily, this is it!! This mustard vinaigrette dressing is light, healthy and gives this roasted asparagus salad a tangy flavor that will light up your taste buds!
Why You Will Love this Recipe
- This spring asparagus salad is like a ray of sunshine in a bowl! It's light, healthy and so flavorful!
- It comes together quickly and easily using just a few simple ingredients.
- So versatile! Cold asparagus salad can be served as a side dish, main dish, or even an appetizer at any event.
- It's sure to please everyone who tries it - both kids and adults alike!
- Works great as a warm or chilled salad, it's truly spring on a plate!
You'll only need a handful of simple ingredients to make this summer salad with asparagus. They're all easily found at your local grocery store. Check out the recipe card at the end of the post for exact amounts.
- Asparagus: Choose fresh, firm, and bright green asparagus spears with a slightly glossy appearance. Make sure the tips are tightly closed, undamaged, without wrinkles or wilting. They should feel firm to the touch with no yellowed, woody ends.
- Onion: Finely diced into the dressing.
- Dijon mustard: For the best flavor use dijon mustard. It gives the dressing a bit more zing.
- Vinegar: You can use white wine vinegar for a milder flavor or red wine vinegar if you want something a bit punchier.
- Lemon juice: More acid and lots of brightness to the dressing.
- Olive oil: My favorite oil for salads is extra virgin olive oil. Though of course, you can choose another.
Mustard Vinaigrette Variations
- Spicy: Add desired amount of chili pepper flakes or our homemade hot pepper sauce for a bit of spiciness.
- Sweeter flavor: Add a teaspoon of sugar, honey, or agave syrup to the dressing if you want it to be a bit sweeter.
- Dijon mustard: You could also use spicy brown mustard or whole grain mustard. These will bring a different, yet still vibrant flavor to the dressing. Yellow mustard and honey mustard will change it significantly and I don't recommend using them.
- Wine Vinegar: You could also use balsamic, apple cider, or sherry vinegar to add different flavors to the mustard vinaigrette.
- Bacon: Cooked and crumbled bacon make a great finishing touch to this easy asparagus salad.
- Add egg: For a salad, a chopped hard-boiled works great or you for a light meal use the asparagus as a base for an over-easy or poached egg.
- Add fruit: Some apple slices, pomegranate seeds, or orange segments would go great.
- Go nuts: Add chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds over the top.
- Say cheese: Add some freshly grated parmesan, crumbled feta, blue cheese, or goat cheese.
How to Make Cold Asparagus Salad
Making this recipe is as easy as it gets. The overview is below, but you'll find the exact instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Steam or boil the asparagus until crips tender. This usually takes about four minutes.
PRO TIP: You can also cook the asparagus in a pan with some oil over medium-low heat and until tender. You could also cook asparagus in your instant pot, smoker, roast it in your oven or use an air fryer.
- Cool the asparagus by running it under cold water. Then drain off any excess water and refrigerate.
- Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the onion, mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Slowly add the oil and whisk until combined. Add the lemon juice.
- Drizzle the mustard vinaigrette over the asparagus just before serving.
Refrigerator: Store any leftover or extra asparagus or dressing separately. This prevents the asparagus from becoming overly soggy and retains it's vibrant green color. The mustard vinaigrette will store in your fridge for up to two weeks.
If you have leftovers already mixed together, store them for up to four days. But note they might not serve up as great the second time around.
Make Ahead: You can make the dressing for this asparagus salad recipe a few days ahead of time and cook the asparagus up to 24 hours before serving. Keep in mind that chilled cooked asparagus will start to lose its crunch the more time it spends inside the fridge.
How to Serve Asparagus Salad
Make it a starter for meals and serve with crusty bread or crackers.
For groups, arrange the cooled asparagus spears onto a platter and drizzle with the mustard vinaigrette. Adding extra garnishes like shaved parmesan cheese, bacon, egg, nuts, and freshly chopped herbs are also nice touches here!
- Choose the freshest asparagus you can find for your salad.
- Trim off any dry ends on the asparagus before cooking and discard them. To do this, hold one end of the spear and then bend it gently until it snaps – the snap point will be the spot where the stalk becomes tough and fibrous.
- Don't overcook the asparagus. You want them to maintain some crunch.
- Use thin or thick spears. Just be sure they are the same thickness so that they all cook in the same amount of time.
- For a warm salad, top the freshly cooked asparagus with the dressing and serve immediately.
Yes! You can replace it with blanched green beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, or even thinly sliced zucchini for a similar texture and crunch.
Yes, you can serve raw uncooked asparagus instead of cooked. The spears do need a little additional prep. Peel off the tough fibrous outer layers and slice the spears into thin strips before serving. For serving raw asparagus, thinner stalks of fresh tender asparagus work best.
Grated parmesan cheese is a great addition when the salad is served warm or crumbled feta or goat cheese when served cold. Fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, or chives, freshly cracked black pepper, some nuts or sunflower seeds for extra flavor.
More Asparagus Recipes
Easy Cold Asparagus Salad
- large skillet rimmed baking sheet with a rack, a steamer or boil asparagus
- Steam or boil the asparagus until tender, about 4 minutes. OR Heat 1-3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently, until asparagus are just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (If the spears begin to brown, reduce heat to low.)
- Run cold water over top of the asparagus to stop the cooking process.
- Drain and dry.
- Place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until cool.
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together onion, mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar.
- Slowly whisk in oil.
- When combined add and blend in lemon juice.
- When ready to serve drizzle dressing over top of the asparagus. Enjoy!
This post was originally published April 2017. It has been republished with new images and content.