This Cold Asparagus Salad is perfect for warm weather, and it's easy to make! Just chop up some fresh asparagus, ripe tomatoes, and salty feta cheese and mix them together with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.
Summertime is the perfect season to enjoy all sorts of delicious salad recipes and once spring hits, asparagus runs abundant. While I love a good Strawberry Spinach Salad or Instant Pot asparagus, sometimes we just need a cool side dish salad to mix things up.
And hey! It would be perfect for a spring gathering brunch, or side dish for Mother's Day.
This is the perfect side dish for an easy weeknight meal or a special occasion like Easter dinner party, too.
And, it’s a healthy and super refreshing side on a warm day! It's basically the Superman of salads, right?!?
This was inspired by my Air Fryer Asparagus but I needed something more spring-weather appropriate. Something that feels light, airy and perfect for patio dining.
This is it, friends. It pairs amazingly with this honey mustard grilled chicken. Yum!!!
Sometimes simple recipes are the best, don’t you think?
This salad uses a few fresh ingredients you can find at any grocery store, plus a tasty dressing using fridge and pantry ingredients.
This may be your new summer go-to recipe! You'll need...
- asparagus - Warm weather makes it the perfect time to enjoy this spring time vegetable. To find the perfect asparagus, look for tightly closed bud ends and firm, sturdy stalks.
- grape or cherry tomatoes - Basically, whatever kind of tomatoes you want to use, I say go for it. Have cherry tomatoes? Perfect. Grape tomatoes, awesome. Tomato, tomato.
- walnuts - These lovely nuts have a natural oil and slightly bitter flavor that's the perfect foil against the other ingredients hanging out in the salad bowl.
- feta cheese - Who doesn't love some salty, tangy feta cheese? You could use goat cheese if you prefer a creamier cheese. Both are lovely!
- balsamic vinegar - A nice balsamic vinegar is one of the base ingredients for our dressing and helps give the asparagus salad a bright flavor. It'll keep your taste buds happy!
- olive oil - An oil of some sort is essential for making our balsamic vinaigrette. You could use a vegetable oil or canola oil if you prefer.
- Dijon mustard - Mustard is one of the ingredients that holds a dressing together as it helps emulsify. Don't skip this ingredient, though you could use another smooth mustard variation.
- honey - Ahhhh, nature's sweetness! Honey adds a delicate sweetness to our side dish.
- garlic & dried seasonings - You can play around with the different seasonings you use. I use dried herbs because they're readily available right in my spice rack. If you'd prefer to use fresh, the recipe notes have details about that.
Food Storage Tip: I store my walnuts in the freezer for longer life. A mason jar or other airtight container works well!
See the recipe card below for full quantities of everything.
How to Make Cold Asparagus Salad
Wash the asparagus and trim the woody ends from the bottom of the stems. If your asparagus is thin, you may not have to worry about trimming anything except the very ends.
Step 1: Blanch the asparagus for about 5 minutes in a large pot of boiling water.
*If you use very thin asparagus, you may just need a quick dip in the water. Larger asparagus spears may take the full amount of cooking time.
Watch for the asparagus to turn a bright green color. That’s your cue to move it out of the hot and into the ice water.
Immediately after cooking for several minutes, submerge the cooked asparagus in a bowl full of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Allow the asparagus to cool for a few minutes in the ice bath.
After several minutes, drain the asparagus and cut it into 1 inch pieces. I like to lay the cooked asparagus on a clean towel or paper towels to absorb the water before getting tossed in the dressing.
We won’t want to water down the flavors here!
Step 2: Make the dressing. I like to use a mason jar fitted with a lid to make my dressing, but you can also use a small bowl and a whisk.
Useful hint: One of the reasons I love asparagus that's already cut before serving, making it super family friendly. It would be a great addition to a potluck or get-together served with a large spoon.
Combine all the dressing ingredients and shake vigorously until the dressing comes together. There's that mustard, doing the work!
Step 3: Assemble the salad. Add the asparagus pieces to a large bowl, then add the cut tomatoes and feta cheese.
Toss everything together and pour a portion of the vinaigrette over the salad. Give a stir and see if you need more dressing. You may not need the entire amount.
Tip: Any leftover dressing can be stored, covered in the fridge for several days.
This cold asparagus salad is naturally gluten free so there’s aren’t any needed changes to make this recipe gluten free.
Cheese - if feta isn’t your thing, can we really be friends? Kidding!
The cheese plays a key role here by adding in a salty bite to contrast the ingredients. You can use goat cheese, parmesan cheese or leave it out all together if that’s what your heart is calling you to do.
Walnuts - you can use pecans if you prefer a different type of nut.
Tangy - if you want a little more tang, you can replace the balsamic vinegar with an equal amount of lemon juice. Just typing that sentence sent my taste buds into mouth-watering status, did yours?
I realize every family has different tastes, picky eaters and the dreaded (but all too familiar) food allergies.
You can leave any ingredient out of the core salad, except the asparagus, that is!
Dressing - if you’re in a rush or just not feeling the adulting vibes, you can use a bottled salad dressing. This one from Brianna's is one of our favorites and we use it a lot! A lemon vinaigrette would be tasty as well.
Make it a meal - add cooked rotisserie chicken, wedges of hard boiled eggs, or grilled chicken to round this dish into a complete meal.
Swap flavors - use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs, especially if you have them handy. You’ll need more of the fresh herbs than the amount of dried spices called for in the recipe.
Kid Friendly - leave the dressing on the side, or let them help with preparation. You can get a lot of buy in from kiddos who have a hand in making their food!
See this super kid friendly version of marinated green bean and asparagus salad. If you have picky eaters, the familiar green beans may serve as familiar vegetable to them.
Baby steps, right???
How to Store Leftovers
This salad will hold just fine in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Make this the day before serving as part of healthy meal prep. Add the dressing to the chilled salad just before serving.
Why do we cook asparagus ahead of time?
While you can certainly eat asparagus raw, blanching vegetables has its benefits. The quick cooking in hot water helps remove dirt and impurities, as well as locks in vitamins and nutrients.
What you’re left with is crisp tender asparagus that will hold up well to the other added ingredients. It also makes the asparagus turn its bright green color.
I hope you’ll give this chilled asparagus salad a try and leave a recipe review or rating below.
Cold Asparagus Salad
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus trimmed
- 10 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon dried herbs i.e. basil, thyme, tarragon, marjoram
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Cook the asparagus: bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and the trimmed asparagus spears. Cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bath of cold water and ice to blanch the asparagus.
- Drain asparagus and immediately place into the ice bath. Let it chill for 1-2 minutes, then drain well.
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well combined. Or place in a small mason jar and shake vigorously until combined and emulsified. Set aside.
- Add the tomatoes and cheese to a large salad bowl. Chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces then add them to the bowl. Toss to mix everything.
- Toss in the walnuts. Give the dressing another whisk then pour 2 to 3 tablespoons over salad and toss until everything is well coated. Add more dressing if desired.
Chill in fridge until ready to serve. Plate, and top with additional cheese if desired.