Tasty asparagus salad with tomatoes, olives and onions. A fresh-tasting and delicious summer side dish, it's also very easy to make.
I adore salads in the summer. They are so fresh and easy, and they minimize the need to heat up the oven or slave over a hot stove. I enjoy main-dish salads, but I also like side salads such as this one.
This tasty salad is a summer staple at my house. It's so fresh and flavorful! I like to serve it to guests because I can make it in advance. But I also serve it often to my family.
A new way to serve asparagus
I love asparagus but have always served it warm. I love roasted asparagus and steamed asparagus (or microwave asparagus). The idea of serving it chilled in a salad has never occurred to me. Until I was served a delicious asparagus salad at a dinner party a few years ago.
It was so good, that even though I never got around to asking the hostess for the recipe, I ended up creating something very similar (my humble additions are sliced olives and a different dressing). It's quickly become a summer staple in our home.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty asparagus salad. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh asparagus: Try to find medium-thickness asparagus. Not the really thick ones, but also not the super-thin ones.
Cherry tomatoes: Cut them in half. They're easier to eat this way (they tend to slide right off the fork unless you cut them). You can also use chopped regular tomatoes.
Red onions: Chop them finely - no one wants to bite into a big chunk of raw onion. You can use white or yellow onions, but use half the amount - they tend to be sharper.
Olives: I like to use black sliced olives, but any type of pitted olives should work.
Olive oil: Extra-virgin olive oil has the best flavor. But if you prefer a light and fruity olive oil, that works too.
Red wine vinegar: White wine vinegar also works, as does fresh lemon juice. I wouldn't recommend using white distilled vinegar, though. It's too acidic.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work.
Dijon mustard: This traditional French mustard is creamier, thicker, and less vinegary than yellow mustard.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the salad could end up too salty.
How to make asparagus salad
Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. It's really simple. Here are the basic steps:
1. Steam the asparagus until tender-crisp. It's important not to overcook it.
2. Slice the asparagus, then mix it with tomatoes, onions and olives. Be gentle when mixing.
3. Add the tasty dressing and gently toss to coat. That's it! Wasn't that easy?
You can make this salad a couple of hours ahead of time and then chill it until ready to serve.
What to serve with this salad?
Anything, really. It's a truly versatile side dish. But I think it goes especially well with these main dishes:
How long can I keep the leftovers?
While you can make asparagus salad ahead of time, I wouldn't try to store the leftovers for longer than a couple of days. Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, and gently toss the salad again before serving it.
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- 1 bunch asparagus tough ends trimmed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved (5 oz)
- ¼ cup red onions diced (1 oz)
- ¼ cup sliced black olives
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Steam the asparagus until just tender. Drain it into a serving bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and the onion. Place the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk them until they emulsify into a velvety dressing.
- Add the tomatoes, the onions and the olives to the serving bowl and gently mix. Then pour the dressing on top and mix again. Be gentle so that the delicate asparagus heads remain intact.
- Serve the salad immediately, or cover and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Remove it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and gently toss again.