Pickled Asparagus Salad is one of my favorite side dish recipes for BBQs, potlucks and other gatherings. Served as a cold asparagus salad, it is an excellent make-ahead recipe and checks all my boxes as the ideal party food!
Pickled Asparagus Salad is made with blanched asparagus marinated in a vinaigrette and tossed with water chestnuts, roasted red pepper and almonds.
Pickled Asparagus Salad a sponsored post on behalf of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. All opinions and statements are 100% my own.
My pickled asparagus salad uses a shortcut on the pickling time, allowing blanched asparagus to marinate in the vinaigrette instead of essentially “cooking itself” by sitting in vinegar for an extended period of time.
The process of blanching, cooking a vegetable in boiling water for a short period of time and then submerging it in ice water to stop the cooking process, not only saves the integrity of the asparagus spear and preserves nutrients, but also saves the crunch factor.
When purchasing my asparagus, I check the tag to make sure it is Michigan Asparagus, the second largest producer of white, green and purple asparagus in the United States.
Grown by 120 Michigan families and hand snapped, it guarantees that each spear has been approved as exceptional.
Did you know that asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-rounded vegetables out there and is also highly sustainable? Asparagus benefits include being low in calories (only 4 calories per spear) and high in folic acid, fiber, thiamin and B6.
Twenty million pounds of asparagus can grow on just 9,500 acres of land and some plots can be harvested up to twice daily. Here are more fun facts about asparagus:
A spear can grow up to 1/2 inch per hour!
A mature field can produce 25-25 rounds of crops per season.
All asparagus is white until it reaches the top of the soil and photosynthesis turns it green. White asparagus is much more expensive because the process of digging it up is labor intensive.
Purple asparagus turns a deep green when cooked.
Asparagus is part of the lily family.
Asparagus was once a prized food with both medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities.
Pickled asparagus salad is one of many recipes for asparagus in my recipe box. I each stalk into 1 inch pieces and marinate just the asparagus in a Dijon laced vinaigrette.
Right before serving, I toss in water chestnuts, roasted red pepper and almonds to make the flavor profile sophisticated and add crunch. Pickled asparagus salad can be served cold or at room temperture since none of the ingredients are prone to go bad. Asparagus crowns are my favorite bite!
Do you prefer crowns or stalks?
Tools for making Pickled Asparagus Salad:
Olive oil – not all olive oil is created equal and in fact, many imported from Italy are cut with less expensive vegetable oil and not kept to strict US standards. I order mine domestically from Amazon to make sure it is 100% pure olive oil.
White Balsamic Vinegar – White balsamic is very similar to regular balsamic, but some describe it having a cleaner aftertaste, making it ideal for vinegar forward recipes such as this. Depending on how it is aged, some won’t be purely white and will have a brownish hue. You can also substitute a sherry, champagne or red wine vinegar for this recipe, depending on what you have one hand. Similarly, white balsamic can be substituted for any recipe calling for another vinegar and is particularly delicious in salad dressings without adding discoloration.
Colander – You’ll need to drain your blanched asparagus before submerging in cold water.
Love asparagus? Here are a few more asparagus recipes:
- One Pan Garlic Herb Pork
- Bacon Wrapped Apricot Asparagus
- Sheet Pan Crispy Salmon
- Sweet and Sour Asparagus
- 2 bunches Michigan asparagus trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt divided
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces sliced water chestnuts cut in half
- 1/4 cup roasted red pepper minced
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Fill a large Dutch oven or pot 1/2 with water, bring to a boil.
When boiling, add 1 tablespoon fine salt and cut asparagus. Boil for 2 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl fitted with a colander and filled with ice water. When cooled, drain in the fitted colander and transfer to a glass or ceramic mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine white balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, fine sea salt and ground black pepper. Pour over blanched asparagus, tossing well to coat.
Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Before serving, drain extra vinaigrette and mix with water chestnuts, almonds and minced roasted red pepper.
Serve chilled or at room temperture.
If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!