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Roasted Asparagus Salad

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This gorgeous asparagus salad combines tender asparagus with colorful greens, crunchy nuts, tangy cranberries, cheese, and a bright dressing that ties it all together. It’s the perfect spring salad!

roasted asparagus salad with pecans, cranberries, and feta cheese in a white serving bowl

I always feel sad for people who say they don’t like salad. To me, if you don’t like salad, you aren’t putting enough goodies on it!

Whether it’s a colorful fruit salad, a fully-loaded Cobb salad, or a beautiful green salad recipe, I LOVE a good salad with mix-ins!

Our tasty asparagus salad is a great example! Beautiful spring mix gets tossed with bite-sized pieces of roasted asparagus, crunchy candied pecans, dried cranberries, tangy cheese, and a delicious balsamic dressing that pulls it all together. It’s a GREAT side dish for spring!

This elegant salad pairs well with Glazed Salmon, grilled chicken, steak, and more, which means it’s a perfect side dish all spring and summer long. Best of all, it’s not fussy to put together. Here’s what you’ll need to get started…

ingredients for asparagus salad

Simple Ingredients To Get Started

  • Roasted Asparagus. While some recipes use shaved asparagus, we’re playing on our favorite Simple Roasted Asparagus recipe by using roasted asparagus instead. Roasting brings out the best in color, flavor, and texture for me and adds a lovely touch to this delicious asparagus salad recipe. Some fresh asparagus, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper come together to bring out the bright green color & fresh flavor of asparagus. Delicious!
  • Spring Mix. Since asparagus is a spring vegetable, I love to pair it with colorful, delicate spring mix. The flavors and textures work perfectly together. (I love a colorful salad!)
  • Candied Pecans. Feel free to use traditional candied pecans, or swap in these healthier maple candied pecans for a naturally-sweetened option!
  • Dried Cranberries. I love the sweet and tangy flavor these little gems add to this colorful salad.
  • Cheese. Now, for cheese! You can add crumbled feta or Cotija cheese to this simple salad for a little extra flavor. (Looking for other options? See our list below!)
  • A Quick Balsamic Dressing. Lastly, we’ll dress the salad with a quick balsamic dressing made from balsamic vinegar, honey or agave, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
making asparagus salad step by step

How To Make This Asparagus Salad, Step By Step:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set out a sheet pan.
  2. Trim The Asparagus. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus by holding each spear at the top and bottom and gently bending until it naturally snaps. (It will snap right above the woody end.) If you’re in a rush, trim off any thick, discolored, or woody-looking ends with a sharp knife (though we recommend the snapping method). Cut the trimmed asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
  3. Roast Asparagus. Spread the cut asparagus out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir with your hands to coat the asparagus evenly. Roast in the hot oven just until the thickest end of the asparagus can be easily pierced with a fork. This will take 7-9 minutes for thin asparagus spears, and 9-12 minutes for thicker spears. Set the asparagus aside to cool slightly to room temperature.
  4. Mix Up The Dressing. While the asparagus cooks, make the dressing. In a small bowl or jar, combine balsamic vinegar, honey or agave, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well blended. (Dressing will keep up to 1 week in the fridge, so you can make in advance, if needed.)
  5. Assemble The Salad. In a large bowl, combine spring mix, roasted asparagus, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and cheese. Drizzle with 3-4 Tablespoons of dressing, and toss to combine, adding more dressing, if needed. (For prettier presentation, you can toss the spring mix with dressing, then garnish each serving with the asparagus, pecans, cranberries, and cheese.)
pouring balsamic dressing onto roasted asparagus salad

More Mix-Ins To Try

Now that you’ve got our basic recipe down, you can play with variations! When I’m looking to change things up, these are some of my favorites swaps:

  • Add A Little Onion. Some finely diced or sliced red onion or shallot can add a lovely savory layer. Want something milder? Try green onion or chives!
  • Dried Cherries. A great alternative to dried cranberries, tart cherries are my pick!
  • Fresh Blueberries. It might seem strange to pair blueberries and asparagus, but some fresh berries can actually be a perfect pairing! It’s that delicious savory-sweet combo, tied together with the balsamic dressing. Blackberries or strawberries also work!
  • Grilled Chicken. Turn it into a complete meal when you elevate this delicious asparagus salad from a side dish to a main dish by adding some simple grilled chicken! I love using a balsamic marinade to mimic the flavors in the dressing.
  • Try Avocado! Some creamy slices of avocado can be a great touch!
  • Play With The Cheese! Swap out the feta or cotija for Parmesan cheese or soft goat cheese for a change in flavor.
  • Add Different Nuts or Seeds. Not in the mood for pecans, swap in candied or toasted almonds, or use sunflower seeds instead!
roasted asparagus salad with pecans, cranberries, and feta cheese in a white serving bowl

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Asparagus Salad:

Make-Ahead Tips. If you’re making this salad in advance, we suggest mixing up the dressing and storing salad ingredients separately, then assembling right before serving. Do not dress the salad until just before serving, for best results, since the salad can get soggy.

A Trick For Pretty Presentation. It’s definitely easiest to just mix everything together in one big bowl, but if you’re serving this for a special occasion, like Easter or Valentine’s Day, you can make it look extra elegant by dressing the salad greens with the dressing. Then, plate each serving individually you you can dress each portion with asparagus, nuts, cranberries, and cheese. It looks just a bit more polished this way!

How To Choose & Store Asparagus. When you’re at the grocery store, look for a vibrant green color, closed, compact tips, and a solid texture. Avoid asparagus stalks that looks limp, wilted, dull in color, or overly opened at the tips. (Signs that it’s past its prime)

⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star rating when you make our Roasted Asparagus Salad Recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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roasted asparagus salad with pecans, cranberries, and feta cheese in a white serving bowl

Roasted Asparagus Salad


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.7 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This simple asparagus salad is a great side dish for all your springtime faves! Try it with grilled chicken, a gorgeous roast, or glazed salmon. 


Ingredients

Scale

For The Asparagus

  • 2 bunches asparagus (1 1/22 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For The Salad:

  • 1 (5-6 ounce) container spring mix
  • 3/4 cup candied pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup feta or cotija cheese (or more, to taste)

For The Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey or agave
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/22 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set out a sheet pan.
  2. Trim The Asparagus. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus by holding each spear at the top and bottom and gently bending until it naturally snaps. (It will snap right above the woody end.) If you’re in a rush, trim off any thick, discolored, or woody-looking ends with a knife (though we recommend the snapping method). Cut the trimmed asparagus into 2-inch pieces.

  3. Roast Asparagus. Spread the cut asparagus out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir with your hands to coat the asparagus evenly. Roast just until the thickest end of the asparagus can be easily pierced with a fork. This will take 7-9 minutes for thin spears, and 9-12 minutes for thicker spears. Set the asparagus aside to cool slightly.

  4. Mix Up The Dressing. While the asparagus cooks, make the dressing. In a small bowl or jar, combine balsamic vinegar, honey or agave, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well blended. (You’ll have more dressing than you may need! Dressing will keep up to 1 week in the fridge, so you can make in advance, if needed.)

  5. Assemble The Salad. In a large bowl, combine spring mix, roasted asparagus, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and cheese. Drizzle with 3-4 Tablespoons of dressing, and toss to combine, adding more dressing, as desired. (For prettier presentation, you can toss the spring mix with dressing, then plate each portion and garnish each serving with the asparagus, pecans, cranberries, and cheese.)

Notes

  • To Make Your Own Candied Pecans, melt 3 Tablespoons of sugar in a skillet over medium heat until liquid (WITHOUT stirring). Add 3/4 cup pecans and stir to coat. Spread out over parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to cool.
  • More Mix-Ins To Try: sliced avocado, sunflower seeds or almonds, dried cherries, fresh blueberries, or other cheeses, like parmesan or other kinds of goat cheese. 
  • Try It As A Main Dish: Top with grilled chicken for a complete meal! We love to use a balsamic marinade for the chicken to mimic the flavors in the salad. 
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Originally shared May 2012. Fully updated Feb 2024.

9 Comments

  1. I love this Emily. We eat big salads pretty often and I agree that if you don’t like salads, you just don’t have enough good stuff in them! We are having salads tonight, actually, and I think I might try this dressing, I love the addition of the honey!

    1. Made this salad tonight for my family it was a big hit! Will definitely be making it again!!! I did omit the Dijon mustard because we are not fans, but dressing was great without it!!!






  2. I’ve made this recipe twice & received rave reviews both times! I made it exactly as stated. It does take a while for the sugar to become liquid to coat the pecans & roast them but I didn’t want to risk burning them. Thank you Emily!!






  3. Made this with what I had on hand after the holidays–minus the lettuce (grocery store wasn’t open on New Year’s Day). It was good. Probably better with thicker asparagus spears than the thin ones I had, which roasted too quickly. But I appreciated that the sauce was easy to make. I used 1/2 the honey so it wasn’t as sweet. Thanks!






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