Roasted asparagus salad is causally elegant and perfect for lunch, brunch, parties, and as a side for meat and fish. This grilled asparagus salad recipe combines tender-crisp asparagus and sweetly roasted red onion with plenty of cheese and a flavorful mustard vinaigrette.
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Grilled asparagus salad
Roasted asparagus is a favorite at my house, especially in spring. We often enjoy it with just salt + pepper and a drizzle of oil. But when you add a little cheese, apple cider vinegar, and mustard, you can turn the humble vegetable into a delicious grilled asparagus salad recipe!
Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus. It draws out the natural sweetness and makes the stems crisp and tender (because no one likes soggy, overcooked asparagus). All you need is a sheet pan, some foil, and oil, and you’re on your way to delicious grilled asparagus. It couldn’t be simpler!
Grilled asparagus salad works beautifully for a light lunch or as a dinner accompaniment. Simply add a protein on the side for a satisfying and healthy meal. It’s also one of my go-to salads for entertaining because it’s a crowd-pleaser and needs little prep work.
Asparagus salad ingredients
To make this easy asparagus salad, you need the following ingredients:
- Asparagus: When buying asparagus, look for stalks that are firm and bright. The tips should be compact and tightly closed. The ends should be white and intact. Brittle, cracked ends indicate that the asparagus has begun to dry out.
- Red onion: The onion will be roasted with the asparagus and get crispy, caramelized edges. Sub in scallions if you prefer a milder taste.
- Mustard: I used dark wholegrain mustard because it’s milder than yellow mustard. Honey mustard, English mustard, and Dijon mustard are good options as well.
- Olive oil: Any kind of neutral-tasting oil will work. I prefer extra virgin olive oil in this asparagus salad recipe.
- Apple cider vinegar is perfect for a spring salad. It tastes light and refreshing with a little tang. Feel free to swap in lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar.
- Parmesan shavings (optional): Salty parmesan cheese pairs so well with roasted asparagus. I like to use parmesan shavings, but grated or crumbled parmesan will work, too.
- Salt and pepper to taste. I like to season the salad with a few cracks black pepper and sea salt from my grinder, but you can use any kind of salt you have.
I’ve listed the exact ingredient amounts in the recipe card at the end of the post.
Asparagus salad dressing
My simple mustard vinaigrette is perfect for this asparagus salad. It’s light and flavorful and highlights the aroma of the grilled asparagus. It consists of the following:
- olive oil
- apple cider vinegar
You don’t have to stick with just these ingredients. Try adding grated lemon zest, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, fresh basil leaves, parsley, or mint to take your grilled asparagus salad to another level.
How to make roasted asparagus salad
Making asparagus salad is almost ridiculously simple, yet your guests will be impressed. First, we roast the veggies and then toss everything with a tasty mustard vinaigrette.
Step 1: Preheat the oven
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°C / 200°C / gas mark 6.
Step 2: Prep asparagus
- While the oven is heating up, prepare the asparagus. First, rinse the stems under cold running water.
- To remove the tough, woody ends, hold the bottom of an asparagus spear in one hand and bend the spear with the other hand until it snaps off. The spears will naturally snap in the right place, so no worries about breaking off too much. Continue with the rest of the pile.
- Cut the stems into 2 in / 5 cm pieces. Use the woody ends to make vegetable stock or discard.
Step 3: Roast vegetables
- Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Add the asparagus and sliced red onion. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the vegetables are well coated in oil.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the asparagus tips are browned, and the stems feel tender but still crunchy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Step 4: Make dressing
- Add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice), and mustard into a large serving bowl. Mix with a spoon until everything is well combined and looks homogenous. The mustard acts as an emulsifier and encourages the vinegar and oil to bind together.
Step 5: Assemble salad
- Add the roasted asparagus and onion and toss well, so everything gets evenly coated.
- Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Sprinkle with parmesan shavings.
Step 6: Serve
- Serve asparagus salad warm or cold with a loaf of crusty bread on the side.
- You can serve this dish right away, but for the best flavor, let the asparagus salad sit for 1 to 2 hours, so the ingredients have a chance to marinate in the dressing.
My family loves roasted asparagus and think it’s the best asparagus salad they ever had, but I would love to know what you think in the comments below!
Toppings + substitutions
- Cheese: Crumbled gruyere cheese, goat cheese, or Monterey jack can be substituted for parmesan.
- Nuts: For added crunch, sprinkle a handful of toasted pine nuts, hazelnuts, or candied pecans over the salad before serving.
- Veggies: Avocado, cherry tomato, and radishes complement asparagus salad well. You can also spruce up the salad with another roasted vegetable.
- Fruit: Fresh strawberries are another springtime favorite and make a colorful and delicious addition to this salad.
- Protein: Seve the salad with grilled chicken, steak, or salmon.
Feta asparagus salad
When I’m out of parmesan, I like to swap in feta cheese instead. Asparagus feta salad is actually my husband’s favorite version. All you do is crumble 1 pack feta cheese over the salad and then serve. Easy!
Lemon asparagus salad
Instead of making the dressing with apple cider vinegar, use freshly squeezed lemon juice and the finely grated zest of 1/2 organic lemon to make a delicious lemon vinaigrette. Lemon asparagus salad tastes very refreshing and makes the salad incredibly flavorful.
This roasted asparagus serves beautifully alongside different main dishes and entrees. Consider serving the salad with:
- freshly baked bread
- roasted chicken
- grilled salmon
Grilled asparagus salad FAQ
Should asparagus be soaked before grilling?
Soaking asparagus before grilling is optional. The asparagus tips are sometimes filled with sand and fine grit. To remove it, fill a large bowl with cold water and soak the asparagus for 5 minutes. Don’t let the asparagus soak for too long, or the stems will turn out soggy.
Should I blanch asparagus before roasting?
No, blanching your asparagus prior to grilling isn’t necessary. It will roast perfectly fine without it. Pre-cooking asparagus before roasting might reduce the cooking time, but not enough to justify an extra step. You also risk the asparagus becoming mushy.
How do you tell if roasted asparagus is done?
It’s easy to tell when grilled asparagus is done. The tips look browned, and the stems are tender. To check the doneness, prick a stem with a fork. If the prongs go in easily, the asparagus is ready to eat.
Why is my roasted asparagus mushy?
The trick is to roast the asparagus at a high temperature, so the outside cooks tender but still retains some crunch.
If asparagus turns out soggy or mushy, chances are you overcooked it. The delicate asparagus spears roast quickly. Take the asparagus out when the stalks are crisp-tender. The asparagus will continue to cook on the sheet pan after you remove it from the oven.
Is asparagus salad healthy?
Yes, I believe that asparagus salad is healthy. Asparagus is a good source of folic acid and essential nutrients such as potassium, fiber, and vitamins (A, B6, C). This salad is vegetarian (or vegan if you omit the cheese), gluten-free, low carb, and keto-friendly.
- Room temperature: You can leave roasted asparagus salad out at room temperature for a couple of hours before serving.
- Refrigerator: Store leftover asparagus salad refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.
- Make-Ahead: You can make grilled asparagus salad 1 day ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. I recommend roasting the asparagus and onions and making the dressing but keep them in separate containers.
Can you freeze roasted asparagus salad?
No, this salad recipe isn’t suitable for freezing.