Asparagus Salad w/Shallots, Pine Nuts & Cheese

Photo by Cathy Nelson Arkle

Warmer weather is finally approaching and with it comes delightful spring vegetables. One of my favorites is asparagus: it’s stylish, bright and addictive.

There are so many simple ways to cook asparagus, and today’s recipe won’t heat up your kitchen or take much of your time. It is also perfect for a picnic or potluck as it travels well.

I took this delectable “Raw Asparagus Salad with Shallots, Pine Nuts & Cheese” to my monthly LA Food Blogger’s Meet-Up. This month’s theme was salads, and what a fabulous array of spring inspired dishes we had. Here are just a few.
Jicama SaladFBLA salad meeting

Maura Hernandez of The Other Side of the Tortilla made Ensalada Xec (Mayan citrus salad ) & Ericka Sanchez of Nibbles and Feasts made Melon Salad with Coconut Milk.

FBLA meetingJudy Lyness of Two Broads Abroad created this gorgeous Thai Beef Salad

Fennel saladyogurt sundaes
Judy Weintraub of Bumbleberry Breeze made Fennel Salad with Tangerines & Avocado
Patricia Rose of Fresh Food in a Flash made savory & sweet Chobani Sundaes

Alluring Asparagus  

Historically, asparagus has been known for its healing and cleansing properties and its balance of vitamins, including  K, B-folate, C, A and folic acid. Asparagus is 93% water, it is low in calories and sodium, and contains no cholesterol or fat. It’s also a good source of protein – yes, protein. This vivacious veggie has roughly four grams of protein per one-cup serving.

Today’s Recipe

This salad is as simple as chopping and mixing – if you use thin asparagus, there is no peeling required (use the tough asparagus ends for soups or stocks).

photo by cathy nelson arkle

Asparagus Salad with Shallots, Pine Nuts & Cheese
Recipe type: Salad
This refreshing Asparagus Salad is healthy and comes together quickly. Perfect for a picnic or potluck as it travels well.
  • 1 bunch pencil-thin asparagus, tough stems removed
  • 4 small shallots, diced (about 5 tablespoons)
  • 2-3 ounces crumbled ricotta salata (feta or goat cheese are great options)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons walnut oil (you can use olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  1. Cut the asparagus into very thin, crosswise slices, and place in a medium bowl. Add the shallots and cheese and toss to combine.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Add to the asparagus mixture and toss gently. Adjust the seasoning.
  3. Serve, topped with toasted pine nuts.
Make an hour or so in advance to allow the flavors to blend. | Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

Fun Facts

* Asparagus historically was heralded as an aphrodisiac, probably because of its shape.

* While approximately 300 varieties of asparagus have been noted, only 20 are edible.

* According to the California Asparagus Commission, asparagus gained popularity in France and England in the 16th Century. King Louis XIV of France so enjoyed this delicacy that he ordered special greenhouses built for a year-round supply. Hence the reference to asparagus as “Food of the Kings.” shepaused4thought_line-NEW

Quote of the Day

“Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts” – Charles Lamb

I say, asparagus inspires endless possibilities for scrumptious salads.
…and then, she paused for thought.


About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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29 Responses to Asparagus Salad w/Shallots, Pine Nuts & Cheese

  1. Judy at Two Broads Abroad May 13, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    This was so very good. And what a beautiful picture.

    • cathyarkle May 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      Thanks Judy! Your Thai Beef Salad was gorgeous and amazing.

  2. Lisa (@whiskandcleaver) May 14, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    This would be great for a weekend BBQ – easy and fast. And make-ahead, my favorite ingredient!

    • cathyarkle May 14, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      Lisa, it doesn’t get easier than this one and it is my new favorite way to eat asparagus. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. nusrat2010 May 14, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Who wouldn’t fall in love with that gorgeous, vibrant salad? 🙂
    Loved the ‘fun facts’ that you added at the end of the post 🙂 And fabulous photos, as always.

    • cathyarkle May 14, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks Nusrat, your kind words are always appreciated.

  4. Nan May 14, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try it.

    • cathyarkle May 14, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Thanks Nan, let me know what you think.

  5. Alice Muradyan May 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    my kind of salad, easy, simple and full of nutrition!!!

    • cathyarkle May 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      Yes Alice it is a winner of many levels. Enjoy!

  6. Cheri Cameron Newell May 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    I have been a fan of asparagus ever since you hooked me with your Thai Asparagus Soup!!! This salad looks yummy!!!

    • cathyarkle May 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks Cheri. The good news is this is easier than the soup.

  7. mysfkitchen May 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Yummy! And extra bonus that it is quick to make! Adding this to my weeknight menu 🙂

    • cathyarkle May 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks Kristianne, I think you are really going to like this one.

  8. sally @ sallys baking addiction May 16, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Yum! Asparagus is my favorite veggie. I love how easy this is to make!

  9. Fresh Food in a Flash May 17, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Your asparagus salad was delicious and the photo of it is adorable! So glad to get to know you Cathy!

  10. cathyarkle May 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    You too Patricia. I loved your Chobani Sundaes!

  11. Simone May 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I love asparagus too! Funny enough I never tried it raw though but that looks delicious

    • cathyarkle May 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      Thank Simone! I encourage you to try it. It is very versatile. Try it with different oils, vinegars and cheeses to match your flavor preference.

  12. Angela June 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    Looks beautiful–and I adore all things asparagus. Just found you via Cooking Contest Central.

    • cathyarkle June 3, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Thanks Angela for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  13. cookingontheweekends April 18, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    Love it all! Yum! Beautiful!

    • Cathy Arkle April 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks Valentina, I do love spring and all the vegetables that go with it.

  14. Christina @ Christina's Cucina April 18, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    You always have a showstopper, Cathy! Making something so simple and yet so stunning! Beautiful!

  15. Rona Lewis April 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Cathy, I bet you could use this as a side dish and with lightly cooked asparagus, sauteed shallots and toasted pine nuts!

    • Cathy Arkle April 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

      Rona I think that would be great as well!


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