This Shaved Raw Asparagus Salad is fresh and light, yet packed with flavor and texture! Dainty, delicate ribbons of asparagus are tossed with fennel and crunchy pine nuts, topped with decadent, crispy baked goat cheese and finished with a smooth lemon vinaigrette.
This salad can be served raw, blanched or roasted! It’s heavenly delicious and perfect as starter, side dish or healthy main!
Update: This post was originally published in May 2015. I updated the post below to include more information about this shaved asparagus salad recipe.
Hi, friends! Let’s talk about foods you hated as a kid, but now you love.
Growing up I absolutely loathed asparagus. My parents always had to force me to eat at least a couple asparagus stalks before I could be excused from the table. Let’s just say a lot of temper tantrums happened on nights where asparagus was served.
I know I am not alone in this. We all have foods we grew up hating, which of course now we adore. Asparagus is mine. What’s yours?
Despite intensely disliking the gangly, woodsy stalks of asparagus, I have always been someone who genuinely enjoys salads. However, as much as I adore a predictable leafy green salad, I totally swoon over an unexpected and vibrantly beautiful salad, such as today’s!
Shaved Raw Asparagus Salad
This asparagus salad is light, refreshing and the epitome of spring and summer freshness! It’s healthy, yet unbelievably delicious and doesn’t skimp or sacrifice on flavor! And, there is a delicious mix of delicate crisp, buttery crunch and decadent creamy texture in every single bite!
Tender, delicate ribbons of asparagus are tossed with bright, slightly sweet fennel and buttery pine nuts. Topped with ultra decadent, crisp and creamy baked goat cheese and a tart, smooth lemon vinaigrette, this salad will quickly become a family favorite!
Plus, it’s a cinch to make and easily customizable! If you aren’t a fan of raw asparagus, I’ve also included instructions for quickly blanching and oven roasting instead! You really can’t go wrong no matter how you decide to prepare it! There is so much fresh, hearty and healthy flavor, I know you are absolutely going to fall head over heels for this stellar salad!
What’s in it?
This salad is a wonderful way to use up seasonal asparagus! It’s quick and simple to prepare, yet packed with various textures and fresh flavors! However, this recipe can easily be adapted and customized to your specific taste! (Scroll down to see what you can add to this salad!)
- Asparagus: Use thick, larger spears of asparagus as they are best for shaving!
- Fennel: Look for large, tight bulbs that are white in color.
- Goat Cheese: Also known as Chèvre. Purchase a goat cheese log as it needs to be cut into thick disks.
- Olive Oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for marinating the goat cheese
- Panko: I recommend plain panko for crusting the goat cheese. While you could use plain breadcrumbs, panko will provide the best crunch!
- Lemon Zest: Fresh lemon zest adds an intense citrus flavor! Make sure you avoid zesting the white part of the lemon (the white pith) as it is very bitter!
- Pine Nuts: Toasted pine nuts are the perfect buttery crunch!
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: While entirely optional, spicy crushed red pepper flakes provide a mild sharp flavor and elevate the taste of the other ingredients.
The dressing ingredients:
- Olive Oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- White Wine Vinegar: You can also use apple cider vinegar if desired.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice elevates all the flavors.
- Dijon Mustard: Complex dijon mustard prevents the dressing from separating.
- Shallot: Minced shallot adds a depth of flavor.
- Honey: A touch of sweet honey provides balance.
- Salt and Pepper: Always season your dressing to taste!
How to customize my salad?
This shaved asparagus salad is incredibly flexible! The recipe below is a great starting point. Feel free to swap out ingredients to your preference! Or, simply add whatever tasty mix-ins you have on hand or your family loves!
What to add to asparagus salad:
- Onion: Thinly sliced or finely diced red onion or shallot will add robust flavor! Plus, it’s a great way to add a pop of pretty color!
- Greens: Arugula, romaine, bibb lettuce or spinach all pair well with asparagus if you are looking to add leafy greens!
- Herbs: Fresh herbs such as, chervil, dill, flat-leaf parsley and scallions are a great way to add herbaceous fresh flavor!
- Nuts: If you aren’t a fan of pine nuts, you can substitute almonds, pistachios or walnuts!
- Vegetables: Green peas, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes and watercress are a great way to add texture and boost fiber, vitamins and minerals!
- Fruit: Creamy, rich avocado is a delicious addition!
- Cheese: The crispy baked goat cheese really makes this salad special! However, you can substitute grated or shaved fontina, muenster, parmesan, pecorino, romano or crumbled feta cheese!
- Grains: Add cooked and cooled quinoa or farro for chewy texture and added nutrients!
- Legumes: Cooked white beans or crunchy chickpeas will add texture and flavor, as well as vitamins, minerals and fiber! My honey roasted chickpeas are amazing in this salad!
- Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a great way boost protein! Or, you can top the salad with a luscious poached egg!
- Meat: Prosciutto, pancetta, bacon or ham are wonderful if you are looking to transform this salad into a main meal!
- Seafood: Sauteed shrimp, canned tuna or lump crab meat are another delicious way add sustenance!
How to select asparagus at the store?
Like all vegetables, asparagus tastes best when it’s super fresh! Below are a few tips to help you select the best asparagus at the farmer’s market or grocery store.
- Color: Select asparagus with bright green stalks and pale green tips.
- Texture: Look for spears that feel plump, as opposed to shriveled. As well, the tips should look and feel compact.
- Avoid: Steer clear of any spears with woody ends or a slimy top.
How to store asparagus?
To keep asparagus crisp, cut off about an inch from the bottom of the stalk and discard. Store the asparagus stalks upright with the cut ends submerged in an inch or two of ice water – as you would cut flowers. Loosely cover the asparagus with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Properly stored, asparagus will keep for up to one week.
What is shaved asparagus?
Shaved asparagus is similar to vegetable noodles. The technique uses a vegetable peeler to turn spears of asparagus into wide, delicate noodles. The dainty strands of asparagus are tender enough to eat raw. However, they can also be blanched, sauteed or roasted.
How to make shaved asparagus?
While raw asparagus in spear form can be fibrous and chewy, asparagus ribbons are silky and oh-so tender!
While ribbons of asparagus may look fancy, shaving asparagus is incredibly easy to do at home! All you need is a standard vegetable peeler and you will be turning out ribbons of asparagus like a pro!
To easily shave asparagus:
- Trim the asparagus: Start by trimming off the woody end (the bottom of the stalk) of each spear. You can trim by snapping the spear with your hand. Or, using a sharp knife to cut and discard it.
- Use a peeler to slice: Hold the spear by the cut end with one hand. Use the other hand to peel the asparagus into thin ribbons. Shave the asparagus like you would peel a carrot. Make sure you peel away from the hand holding the spear using steady, even pressure.
- Continue shaving: Continue to shave the asparagus until the entire stalk has been transformed into ribbons. If the asparagus stalk starts to slip in your hand, place the asparagus on a clean work surface, flat side-down.
Pro-tip: Medium and large asparagus spears with a fat stalk work best for shaving! Save the thin spears for roasting or sauteing.
How to make raw asparagus salad?
This recipe starts with the freshest ingredients and ends with an unforgettable, bright and delicious salad!
(Scroll down for the detailed measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.)
Make the Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Alternatively, you can shake the ingredients together in a Mason jar!
Marinate Goat Cheese: Cut the goat cheese log into 4 round disks. Place the disks into a shallow baking dish and add olive oil. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 2 days, gently flipping cheese over periodically.
Toast the Panko: Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring often, until golden brown.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper.
Bread the Goat Cheese: Remove the goat cheese rounds from the olive oil and place on top of the toasted breadcrumbs. Press to adhere. Flip rounds over to completely coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all four rounds are coated.
Bake the goat cheese: Bake until soft to the touch when gently pressed with fingertip, about 7-8 minutes.
Toss salad ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, fennel, pine nuts, lemon zest and crushed red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add dressing: Pour the desired amount of dressing over the asparagus salad. Toss well to coat.
- Serve: Top with baked goat cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Pro-tip: This salad can easily be made in advance! Marinate the goat cheese, prepare the dressing and prepare the salad mixture. When ready to serve, bake the cheese, toss the salad with dressing and serve!
How to cook shaved asparagus?
If raw asparagus scares you, have no fear! You can easily cook the shaved asparagus in this salad!
- Blanched shaved asparagus (for semi-cooked asparagus): Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Season the water with sea salt. Place the asparagus into a large sieve and lower into boiling water. Boil for 45 seconds to one minute. Remove and immediately dunk sieve into the ice bath to stop the asparagus from cooking. Allow asparagus to sit in ice bath for at least 1 minute. Remove from ice water, drain thoroughly and transfer to a large clean kitchen towel or paper towels and pat dry.
- Roasted shaved asparagus (for fully-cooked asparagus): Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add asparagus to baking sheet. Roast for 7-10 minutes, or until desired doneness. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
How to serve asparagus salad?
This shaved salad can be served for any occasion! It’s perfect as a simple starter, light side or a healthy main dish! Plus, it can be served cold or warm depending on your preference.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite salads for spring and summer! It’s light, incredibly delicious and a salad you just feel good about eating! I pinkie promise you are going to love this as much as I do!
Until next time, friends, cheers and happy cooking (or should I say shaving?)!
More fresh asparagus recipes
If you love this asparagus salad, try one of these fresh and delicious recipes next:
How to make Shaved Raw Asparagus Salad recipe👇
Shaved Raw Asparagus Salad
- Small Mixing Bowl or Mason Jar (for dressing)
- Shallow Baking Dish
- Small Skillet
- baking sheet
- 1 pound Asparagus (preferably thick spears)
- ½ small Fennel bulb – thinly sliced
- 4 Oz Goat Cheese (log)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - approximately 1 cup*
- ½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 Lemon - Zest (use the juice below in the vinaigrette)
- ¼ Cup Pine Nuts
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes , to taste
- Salt and Pepper , to taste
- 1 TBS White Wine Vinegar
- 1 TBS Lemon Juice
- 1 ½ tsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 TBS Shallot – minced
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Honey
- ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
- Prepare the Vinaigrette: Mix all ingredients together in a small container with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously to emulsify. Alternatively, you can whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
- Prep & Marinate Goat Cheese: Cut the goat cheese log into 4 rounds, roughly ¾’’ wide and 1 ounce in weight each. Place rounds into a shallow baking dish and add olive oil. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 2 days, gently flipping goat cheese over periodically.
- Toast the Panko: Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring often, until golden brown and evenly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove breadcrumbs from heat and transfer to a plate.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Bread the Goat Cheese: One disk at a time, remove the goat cheese rounds from the olive oil and place on top of the toasted breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Flip rounds over and on their sides to completely coat rounds with toasted breadcrumbs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all four rounds are coated.
- Bake until soft to touch when gently pressed with fingertip, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Prepare the Asparagus: Cut off the tips off the asparagus and place in a large bowl. Holding the woodsy end of the asparagus, use a vegetable peeler to shred, in downwards strokes, asparagus into long strands. Snap off the woody ends and discard. Dice the thin, leftover inward pieces of the asparagus that are too thin to shred and add to the bowl. Add the thinly sliced fennel to the bowl and toss to combine.
- For Raw Salad: Season the asparagus with salt and pepper to taste. For Semi-Cooked Salad: Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Season the water with 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Place the asparagus and leeks into a large sieve and lower into boiling water. Boil for one minute, remove and immediately dunk sieve of vegetables into ice bath to stop them from cooking. Allow vegetables to sit in ice bath for at least 1 minute, remove from ice water, drain thoroughly and transfer to a large clean kitchen towel or paper towels and pat dry. For Roasted Salad: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roast vegetables for 7-10 minutes, or until desired doneness. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- To Assemble Salad: Place asparagus and fennel back into large mixing bowl if you chose to cook them and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pine nuts, crushed red pepper flakes and lemon zest. Toss to combine. Drizzle in vinaigrette to taste (you can always add more, so start with less) and toss again. Divide salad among serving plates and top with baked goat cheese rounds. Serve with extra vinaigrette on the side. Enjoy.
- Use a high end olive oil
- Using a flavored olive oil is preferred. I used a roasted garlic flavored olive oil
- If using a plain olive oil, add a sprig or two of a fresh herb, such as rosemary or thyme.
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