Inspired from a Clean Eating recipe, this salad has become a favorite among friends and family, especially in the summer season. I would have never thought to create a RAW asparagus salad, but the combination of the asparagus (finely chopped), cannellini (white) beans, walnuts, purple onion, parmesan cheese and a light, citrusy vinaigrette is fabulous! For a side dish, this recipe can serve 6-8 people. It goes really well with a summer menu of grilled chicken (or your protein of choice), the Caprese Salad from my previous blog, and roasted potatoes with rosemary and olive oil.
To get started on this crowd pleaser, here are the ingredients:
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar, depending on your taste)
- juice of 1 lemon
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 1 bunch asparagus, finely chopped
- 1 small or 1/2 medium to large purple onion, finely chopped
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped, saving a few sprigs for garnish
I begin by making the dressing. One of my favorite kitchen tools is a Cuisinart hand blender which I always use for mixing up dressings. Simply measure and combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon and salt and pepper in a small bowl, or in the mixing container that comes with the hand blender, blend the dressing until it is emulsified and set aside.
Next, I finely chop the asparagus, purple onion and walnuts. I find the easiest way to roast the walnuts is in a small skillet on the stove. It only takes a few minutes on a medium flame to bring out their flavor and give them a nice, light brown color. Remember to toss the walnuts around to help them get an even color and to avoid burning them. While the walnuts are cooling, I grate the parmesan and chop the basil.
After combining all the chopped ingredients in the bowl, I add the dressing and give it a good stir. To serve, I place a few basil sprigs on top. Please let me know your thoughts including any additions you make to this super summer asparagus salad!