Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing

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Servings : Prep Time : Cook Time : Ready In : This Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing is a wonderful, simple way to enjoy the asparagus experience.

header photo Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing


  • 1 pound fresh asparagus (not pencil thin)
  • For the Dressing

    1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, marjoram, or oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glace*
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • *Balsamic Glace is concentrated balsamic vinegar that is slightly sweet and can be found in many grocery stores. If you can't find it, make your own by reducing 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons.


Step 1

Peel the asparagus and trim off the tough ends. Prepare an ice bath in a bowl. In a skillet, bring some well salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and simmer until just tender (because the asparagus are peeled, this should take 2 - 3 minutes, do not overcook); immediately remove the asparagus to the ice bath, allow to cool completely, then set on paper towels to drain and dry. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients, mix well. Place the asparagus in a serving dish, toss with the dressing and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Toss again, adjust seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

{The making of Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing}


the making of Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing


While asparagus are available year round, the best come in spring and early summer. Regardless of when you buy them, here are some tips I’ve learned; when it comes to picking the best asparagus, size doesn’t matter at all.  Thinner asparagus comes from new asparagus plantings, the thicker ones come from older crowns.  Both are tender, but I prefer the fat ones. They just have more “meat” on them.


“When it comes to picking the best asparagus, size doesn’t matter”


Asparagus are high in vitamins B6 and C, plus fiber, folate and glutathione, an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant, making them an excellent nutritional choice.


Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing fresh asparagus lightly dressed with balsamic dressing


How to buy and prepare Asparagus 

Buy asparagus that are fresh, with tightly closed heads.  If you notice the heads are starting to open, or the stalks seem to be less than “plump” pass for another bunch…those are sure signs the asparagus have been sitting for a while.

Asparagus is best cooked the day you buy them but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  To store, wrap them in a damp (not wet) paper towel and place in a plastic zip top bag, or you can set them upright in a jar with 1 inch of water in the bottom and cover the whole thing with a plastic bag.

When it comes to prepping asparagus, be sure to wash them as there may be dirt in the heads.  You need to remove the bottom of each stalk as that is very fibrous; usually the bottom third, but an easy way to do it is to hold the stalk below the head about midway to the bottom and at the bottom and bend it gently, it will break where the fiber meets the tender.  While not necessary, if you want your stalks to look “neat” take a paring knife and trim the end once you have broken it.  When cooking thick asparagus, I like to use a vegetable peeler to take the scales off.  It looks so neat and tidy; but this is an optional step so if you don’t feel like it, then don’t do it. It will just take a little longer to cook them to crisp-tender.


Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing close up


The Dressing

The dressing is made from a pretty good amount of Dijon mustard, that is combined with balsamic glace and extra virgin olive oil, with the shallot, garlic, and herbs mixed in. It is rather thick, making it a kind of almost dipping sauce, which is perfect for clinging to the asparagus spears. The thick dressing makes this recipe a perfect “finger food” and we all know that it is perfectly ok to eat asparagus with your fingers.  Even Ms. Manners says so.


Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing on a plate with forks


So whether you eat them with your fingers, or use a knife and fork, this recipe for Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing is a wonderful way to enjoy the asparagus experience!


Or try my recipe for Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad, a bright refreshing raw salad.



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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Fat
    10g (1g Sat, 8g Mono, 1g Poly)

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