Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette

My Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette is a refreshing and vibrant dish perfect for spring and summer. The star of this dish is fresh asparagus and creamy goat cheese. And this tasty cold asparagus salad wouldn’t be complete without a homemade vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts! 

A bright green cold asparagus salad with herbs, sliced radish, goat cheese, and lemon zest, on a serving platter with gold serveware.

My cold asparagus salad is a delicious way to enjoy the fresh flavors of asparagus season! This easy recipe includes a tip to keep tender asparagus bright green thanks to a large bowl ice bath! There are a few different ways you can change up this salad, and I include some ideas below in the ‘substitutions and additions’ section of this post. I tried to keep my version pretty simple with lots of fresh herbs, a lemon vinaigrette, and tangy goat cheese. 

This would be perfect for a party! Serve it with other yummy bites like my Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Creamy Whipped Eggplant Dip (Elephante Copycat Recipe)! And don’t forget the Grapefruit Spritz or Rosé Spritz!

Zoomed in picture of a a bright green cold asparagus salad with herbs, sliced radish, goat cheese, and lemon zest and pine nuts.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • You can make it ahead. Prep the veggies the day before make the salad (leave the goat cheese out), and make the lemon vinaigrette (just keep it separate) the night before. Then, assemble right before serving! 
  • It’s customizable. Don’t have goat cheese? Go ahead and use something else, like salty feta cheese, in its’ place! You could also use shaved parmesan cheese!
  • It’s versatile. This cold asparagus salad recipe is the perfect side dish for any protein like chicken, salmon, etc. You can also have it as a main salad! 

Ingredients for Cold Asparagus Salad

Ingredients for cold asparagus salad.

  • Fresh Asparagus – Asparagus adds a crisp texture and earthy flavor to the salad, making it a vibrant centerpiece. Look for firm, brightly colored spears with tightly closed tips. Avoid limp or wilted asparagus.
  • Peas – Peas bring a burst of sweetness and freshness to the salad, complementing the other flavors. If using frozen peas, thaw them under cold water and drain well before adding to the salad.
  • Peas in the Pod – Peas in the pod not only add visual appeal but also provide a satisfying crunch to the cold asparagus salad. Choose plump, firm pods without any signs of shriveling or discoloration.
  • Fresh /herbs (mint, parsley, dill, etc.) – Fresh herbs elevate the salad with their fragrance and bright flavors. Wash the herbs gently and pat them dry before chopping to preserve their freshness and flavor.
  • Lemon Zest – Lemon zest adds a zesty, citrusy punch to the salad, enhancing its overall brightness. Use a microplane grater to zest the lemon, being careful to only grate the outer, colored part of the peel to avoid bitterness.
  • Radishes – Radishes contribute a crisp texture and peppery bite to the salad, balancing out the flavors. Choose radishes that are firm and brightly colored with smooth skins. Trim off the tops and tails before slicing.
  • Goat Cheese –  Creamy goat cheese adds richness and tanginess to the salad, creating a luxurious texture. For easier crumbling, chill the goat cheese before adding it to the salad.
  • Toasted Pine Nuts – Toasted pine nuts provide a nutty flavor and crunchy texture, enhancing the salad’s depth. Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil forms the base of the vinaigrette. Use extra virgin olive oil for its robust flavor and health benefits.
  • Lemon Juice – Lemon juice adds acidity and brightness to the vinaigrette, balancing the flavors of the salad. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor!
  • Dijon Mustard – Dijon mustard emulsifies the vinaigrette and adds a subtle tangy kick to the salad. Choose a high-quality Dijon mustard for optimal flavor and consistency.
  • Honey – Honey adds a touch of sweetness to the vinaigrette, rounding out its flavors.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Use up leftover produce! In addition to the asparagus spears, you can use pretty much any veggies you have on hand for this salad. Some of my favorites to add are cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, green beans, or shallots!
  • Explore your cheese drawer! This delicious asparagus salad recipe would work perfectly with goat cheese, crumbled feta, and shaved parmesan cheese.
  • Skip the homemade vinaigrette. Short on time? Don’t feel like whipping up the lemon vinaigrette? Use store-bought lemon dressing, or just toss it with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice would be nice, too! 

Step by Step Instructions

Chopped asparagus in a glass bowl with water and pine nuts in a pan.

1: In a dry skillet over medium heat, add the pine nuts. Toast them, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until they turn golden brown and become fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Once toasted, immediately transfer them to a plate to cool.

Prepare the asparagus by trimming off the tough ends and blanching them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they’re bright green and tender-crisp. Immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to maintain their vibrant color. Once cooled, drain and set aside.

Cooked chopped asparagus and peas tossed on a serving platter as the base of a cold asparagus salad.

2: If using fresh peas, shell some of them to use in the salad, leaving some in the pod for visual appeal. If using frozen peas, thaw them under cold water and drain well.

Cooked chopped asparagus and peas with mint and dill leaves and sliced radish on a serving platter for a cold asparagus salad.

3: In a large bowl, combine the blanched asparagus, shelled peas, peas in the pod, chopped fresh herbs, lemon zest, sliced radishes, and toasted pine nuts.

Cooked chopped asparagus and peas with mint and dill leaves and sliced radish on a serving platter, topped with lemon zest and goat cheese for a cold asparagus salad. Also, a side of dressing in a glass measuring cup.

4: Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Adjust the quantities to taste. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and gently toss to coat everything evenly.

Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the salad. Serve the salad family-style on a large platter or in a serving bowl.

A bright green cold asparagus salad with herbs, sliced radish, goat cheese, and lemon zest, on a serving platter with gold serveware on a blue tiled backdrop.

Tips and Notes

  • Serve at room temperature – Allow the salad to come to room temperature for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste.
  • Garnish before serving – Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle toasted pine nuts over the cold asparagus salad just before serving to maintain their freshness and crunch.
  • Don’t overcook asparagus – When blanching, Be careful not to overcook the asparagus. It should be tender-crisp to maintain its texture and vibrant color.

A bright green cold asparagus salad with herbs, sliced radish, goat cheese, pine nuts, and lemon zest.

Serving Suggestions

  • Wine Pairing –  A crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc would complement the vibrant flavors of the salad while providing a nice contrast to the creamy goat cheese. For a more adventurous pairing, consider a funky and cool natural wine such as an orange wine or a pet-nat (pétillant naturel). These wines often have unique flavors and textures that can add an unexpected twist!
  • Family-Style Platter – Serve the salad on a large platter as the table’s centerpiece, allowing guests to help themselves. 
  • Al Fresco Dining – Serve the salad outdoors for a casual al fresco dining experience, maximizing its fresh flavors and vibrant colors. Pair it with crusty bread and chilled wine for a relaxed gathering with friends and family.
  • Pair with Grilled Proteins – For a complete meal, serve the salad with grilled proteins such as chicken, shrimp, or salmon. The salad’s light and refreshing flavors perfectly balance the rich and savory grilled meats or seafood.
  • Summer Picnic – Pack the salad into individual containers or mason jars for a stylish, portable picnic option. Pair it with artisanal cheeses, crusty bread, and fresh fruit for a delightful outdoor feast. Some other picnic recipes I would suggest are my Fried Goat Cheese Salad, Tomato and Pesto-Whipped Goat Cheese Tart, Italian Sausage Crostini Recipe with Fennel Seed, Easy Deli Chicken Salad – A Classic Deli-Style Recipe, and my Easy Marinated Mozzarella Balls Recipe with Herbs!
  • Brunch—For an awesome brunch spread, Serve the salad with other brunch favorites such as quiche, frittata, or smoked salmon. The salad’s bright flavors and fresh ingredients add a touch of sophistication to the meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

  • Refrigerate any leftover salad in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days, preferably with dressing kept separately.
  • If storing with goat cheese, expect it to firm up; let the salad sit at room temperature briefly before serving.
  • Refresh leftover salad with extra dressing if needed and garnish with fresh herbs or nuts before tossing.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as required, then serve chilled for maximum freshness.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it! Tag @seasonedandsalted on Instagram and leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review below!

A fresh and vibrant cold asparagus salad with goat cheese, lemon zest, and radish.

Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette

Allie Hagerty
Try this refreshing and vibrant Cold Asparagus Salad with fresh asparagus and creamy goat cheese! It's perfect for spring or summer.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 376 kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Skillet
  • mixing bowls
  • whisk
  • Microplane grater or zester
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Serving platter or bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 3 bunches of fresh asparagus about 1.5 pounds or 680g, trimmed
  • 3/4 cup peas 110g
  • 3/4 cup snap or sugar peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (mint, parsley, dill, etc.)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4-6 radishes thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts 60g
  • 2/3 cup 160ml olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 teaspoons honey adjust to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper adjust to taste

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the asparagus by trimming off the tough ends and blanching them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they’re bright green and tender-crisp. Immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to maintain their vibrant color. Once cooled, drain and set aside.
  • If using fresh peas, shell some of them to use in the salad, leaving some in the pod for visual appeal. If using frozen peas, thaw them under cold water and drain well.
  • In a large bowl, combine the blanched asparagus, shelled peas, peas in the pod, chopped fresh herbs, lemon zest, sliced radishes, and toasted pine nuts.
  • Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Adjust the quantities to taste.
  • Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and gently toss to coat everything evenly.
  • Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the salad.
  • Serve the salad family-style on a large platter or in a serving bowl.

Notes

Serve at room temperature – Allow the salad to come to room temperature for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste.
Garnish before serving – Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle toasted pine nuts over the salad just before serving to maintain their freshness and crunch.
Don’t overcook asparagus – When blanching, Be careful not to overcook the asparagus. It should be tender-crisp to maintain its texture and vibrant color.

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 7gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0.002gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 255mgPotassium: 200mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 816IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 2mg
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