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Raw asparagus salad

Updated: Tue, 16 April, 2024

Raw asparagus salad with chicory and rocket leaves and the simplest dressing is one of the best ways of serving the springs greenest shoots.

raw asparagus salad

Asparagus season is open

They’re in! The best bit of news I’ve had all week was a tweet from my local farm shop that their fresh asparagus are in.

They grow them a stone’s throw from the shop and as we know, the more local the better. They pick them every morning and of course everything sells during the day so there are never any tired, wilted, squidgy stems on sale.

And they are CHEAP – a huge bundle over a pound in weight is half the supermarket price.

My favourite spears

Every May and June I dramatically cut down on the variety of my veg intake. I can eat asparagus with every meal and snack on them in between (admittedly you could snack on worse, eh?).

Soup, pasta, tartelets, stir-fries, but the best is simplicity. If you’re lucky to get a spanking fresh bundle, don’t mutilate it. After all, Emperor Augustus deemed quick action ‘faster than cooking asparagus’.

Famously, they have the ‘asparagus urine’ effect. I actually love the smell they give to your pee although apparently not everyone gets this side effect and not many find the aroma agreeable. Each to their own. Marcel Proust loved it. I love it. Enough already!


How to prepare asparagus?

They are a powerhouse of nutrients so don’t spoil them.

Just toss them in butter, steamed or briefly boiled, and dress with mayonnaise or hollandaise. Use them as soldiers with your boiled eggs, or have them raw, like this. Thinner, more delicate spears will work better if you've never had asparagus raw.

It’s a simple salad: the dressing marinates the asparagus a bit and the Parmesan complements them nicely. As fresh green shoots as you can get – and it’s spring by the mouthful!

asparagus and parmesan salad

Shaved or chopped?

Some recipes for raw asparagus salad tell you to shave the spears or slice lengthwise into thin strips. That’s a nice way of approaching it, but – and I say it at nauseam – if the asparagus is fresh, firm and juicy, you want to bite into the sweetness.

The dark green outer layer though might be slightly tougher than the inside of a spear so my approach is best of both worlds and a lovely contrast of textures.

shaving asparagus

Shave the outside of each spear from just below the tip, using a vegetable peeler precisely like you were peeling it. Set aside, and slice the rest of each stalk into 1cm/¼ inch pieces. Keep the tips intact – they are always the tenderest part.

chopped asparagus

The dressing

Dressing for this salad is simplicity itself: salt and black pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice and the best olive oil you have. Add a drop of honey if you like, especially if you mix the asparagus with some chicory and/or rocket, to balance the bitterness.

Once the asparagus pieces, shavings and tips are in a bowl with the leaves, toss them with salt and pepper and the lemon juice whisked with olive oil.

Add shaved or coarsely grated Parmesan and the salad is done.

asparagus salad with olive oil dressing


If you prefer, use lambs lettuce or shredded romaine instead of the bitter leaves.

If you’re wary of raw asparagus, toss it with the dressing and leave for an hour to macerate and soften. Don’t forget lemon juice is capable of ‘cooking’ food, like what happens in ceviche or tartare.

Finely chopped fresh dill can be added to the salad, and if you want to make it into a more substantial lunch or brunch dish, add a poached egg or halves of soft boiled ones.

More asparagus recipes

Filo wrapped asparagus with Parmesan are a crunchy, golden, irresistible vegetarian snack or appetiser. Asparagus filo parcels rolled up like cigars - a must before the asparagus season ends.

Grilled asparagus with flaked almonds and Parmesan, an exquisite side dish or starter ready in 10 minutes. It can be cooked in oven grill or on a barbecue.

Asparagus risotto with frico, Parmesan crisps, is my favourite recipe for spring. A good asparagus risotto is all about fresh asparagus, great flavour and hard work of stirring the pot!

More spring salad recipes

Persian cucumber and radish salad, sabzi khordan, is the healthiest plate imaginable. Sabzi khordan means 'eat your greens' and it's piled high with fresh herbs over the cucumber and radish.

Spring cabbage salad is easy and incredibly healthy, with herbs and a touch of garlic. A welcome change from lettuce or mixed greens, it's perfect for BBQ.

Spicy potato salad with bacon and cucumber. This is an excellent mix of spicy bacon and cucumber with new potatoes, served warm. Cured pork appears often in Chinese cuisine, if you had doubts about autenthicity.

raw asparagus in a fresh salad

Raw asparagus salad

Servings: 2Time: 15 minutes


  • a bunch of fresh asparagus spears
  • white chicory or rocket leaves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • freshly shaved Parmesan


1. Break off the woody ends of the asparagus, rinse and dry them.

2. Using a vegetable peeler, shave off the dark outside skin, starting just below the tips, set aside. Chop the peeled stems across into 1cm rounds and keep the tips whole.

3. Finely shred the chicory and tear the rocket leaves. Whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil.

4. Place the chopped asparagus, shaved strips and tips in a serving bowl with chicory or rocket leaves, season with salt, pepper and half the dressing and toss together.

5. Top with the shaved Parmesan and finish off with the remaining dressing.

Originally published: Sat, 14 May, 2016

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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