Make my Chopped Asparagus Salad recipe when the spring asparagus is plentiful and cheap, and you’re craving a bit of fresh crunch in your life after a long winter. This cold asparagus salad becomes a complete meal with a few well chosen add ins like tuna and hard cooked egg, or turn it into an asparagus pasta salad ~ it’s up to you!
chopped asparagus salad is the first thing I make in asparagus season!
OMG asparagus is in season, and the grocery store has it stacked to the ceiling! It’s so cheap, too, how can you not bring home multiple bundles of the stuff??
I say grab it and work out the details later. The other day I made my asparagus salad with mimosa dressing, and today it stars in this chunky Mediterranean inspired salad ~ I’ll add whatever I’ve got in the pantry and in the fridge at the moment. It’s a favorite around here.
In this case I’ve featured asparagus and other spring veggies like radishes, baby peppers, and carrots, but the recipe follows in the footsteps of my other chunky salad faves, like Mediterranean bean salad and cowboy caviar. The through-line being a colorful mix of beans and veggies with a punchy vinaigrette.
ingredients for this vibrant asparagus salad:
Aside from the asparagus, feel free to change it up and tailor it to what’s fresh or what you have on hand.
- asparagus ~ thinner stalks work best for this salad, and I barely blanche them so they stay crisp and brilliant green.
- chickpeas ~ canned, well rinsed to removed the ‘canned’ flavor.
- carrot ~ use orange or rainbow carrots, they add sweet crunch to the salad.
- radish ~ a spring salad needs radish! I love to cut them in small wedges.
- cucumber ~ has such a fresh flavor and texture, I love adding it to all kinds of chopped salads.
- cherry tomatoes ~ cut some in half width-wise and some length-wise for variety.
- red onion ~ instead of mincing I cut them in slender little crescents.
- bell pepper ~ multi colored is pretty.
- olives ~ for a nice briny accent.
- roasted red pepper ~ I used jarred here.
- feta cheese ~ adds all important tang and creaminess.
chopped veggie salads are perfect for outdoor dining
This recipe celebrates the changing season ~ it’s light, fresh, crunchy, and begs to be eaten outdoors, if you ask me. There’s no mayo in the dressing, which is ideal for outdoor entertaining and eating.
This salad holds up well, too; the veggies are raw or just barely blanched, and they maintain their crunch, so feel confident making it ahead of time. It also makes an ideal lunch to pack for work or school, and goes with just about anything, so tonight we’re having it alongside trout cooked in parchment paper 🙂
how to choose the right type of feta for this asparagus salad
I love the little edge that crumbled feta adds to this salad. I’ve discovered that imported feta is far FAR better than the regular stuff, and I highly recommend trying it if you see it. I’ve found Greek and Bulgarian, and it’s made with sheep’s milk. The flavor is salty and complex ~ not as sharp as our cow’s milk feta here. Try it, you’ll thank me.
chef’s tips for making a great chopped salad:
- The key to using canned beans is to rinse them really well. The ‘canned’ flavor rinses right off! (And no matter what any recipe tells you, don’t use the canning liquid, unless you’re making ‘aquafaba‘)
- I only plunge the asparagus into boiling water for 60 seconds. Asparagus is best when it’s just barely heated through, and can go limp and drab in an instant. Don’t over cook it! (If your stalks are super thick they might take a little bit longer.)
- I love to add some great canned tuna to this chopped asparagus salad, which makes it a complete meal. I sometimes add a couple of hard cooked eggs, too. If you’re feeling fancy you could use fresh salmon or shrimp.
Chopped Asparagus Salad
- 1/2 pound trimmed asparagus, asparagus that has already had the lower 1/3 cut off
- 15 ounce can chickpeas, or other bean well rinsed and drained
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 5 radishes, trimmed and cut into wedges or chunks
- 1 Persian cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup cherry tomato halves, cut in wedges if they are larger
- 1/2 cup colorful bell peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup black olives
- 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, from a jar chopped
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- First I blanch the asparagus ever so briefly to take the raw edge off. I bring a pan of water to a boil, plunge the asparagus in, and remove it in exactly 60 seconds. Set the timer and don’t leave it in the water any longer than that. (The only exception is if your asparagus stalks are very thick.) Rinse in cold water, or drop the asparagus into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the color. Once completely cold, dry on a clean towel. Slice the stalks into 2 inch pieces, on the diagonal.
- Add the asparagus, chickpeas, carrots, radishes, cukes, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and olives to a large mixing bowl. Toss with enough dressing to thoroughly moisten, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the salad chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve, give it at least an hour.
- Toss the salad and add more dressing if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with the feta cheese and fresh thyme.
- To make the dressing: Whisk together the ingredients and taste to adjust any of them.
- This salad is naturally gluten free and vegetarian.
- Leave out the cheese for a vegan salad.
- Omit the beans for Paleo, the cheese and beans for Whole 30.
- Any type of canned bean will work, I almost used white beans ~ red kidneys would be great, too