This delicious strawberry asparagus salad brings together favorite flavors of the season, with a bright lemony dressing and goat cheese toasts on the side (which are optional but go so well). A tasty spring salad that is also so easy to make.
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While it's generally possible to get most produce year-round these days, most things taste that bit better when they are in season locally (or at least not traveling too far). Plus most produce just feels more fitting when it's in season.
Crisp fresh asparagus and juicy fresh strawberries are such welcome signs of spring in the grocery store that feel like signs of brighter days to come. They are definitely some of my seasonal favorites, and worth enjoying as much as possible while at their best.
I've shared a number of recipes using each of them before that we all enjoy, like my asparagus salad with pancetta and asparagus frittata, or strawberry mousse and strawberry raspberry jam. But they also work well together to be a true celebration of spring.
Strawberries might generally seem like more of an ingredient for sweet recipes, but they also work well in salads (like my strawberry spinach feta salad), adding a touch of sweet and softness in contrast to crunchier greens.
Salad ingredients (and substitutions)
This salad is relatively simple, with a few things being pretty core, while others you can change up.
- Strawberries - maybe unsurprisingly, these are a core element. They add color, and as mentioned, a lovely touch of sweet and softness that contrasts well with everything else. Super easy to prepare as you simple remove the stem and slice them up.
- Asparagus - the other core element, adding a lovely freshness and slight earthiness. While you can eat asparagus raw, for this it's best to lightly steam it. You want it gently soft but not mushy. Use as fresh asparagus as you can find.
- Arugula - one of my favorite greens, that has a lovely pepperiness and bite. If you like, you could swap this out for another green. I'd suggest spinach, or maybe pea shoots or a blend as a good alternative.
- Fennel - thinly spiced fennel adds a lovely crisp crunch and has a great flavor too. I find it works really well here, though you could skip it if you are not a fan. Another option would be something like a little watercress.
- Lemon vinaigrette - lemon has a lovely brightness that pairs so well with both asparagus and strawberries, which is why the simple lemon vinaigrette was my choice here. However if you don't have the ingredients or are somehow less convinced, you could instead use a simple balsamic vinaigrette or French-style vinaigrette.
- Goat cheese toasts - I know, these may seem a little out of the blue, but they are so delicious and work well here, too. It's a bit of a retro thing that I remember from childhood. If you are less convinced (though I do recommend trying them!) then you can skip them, if you like. Or maybe add some croutons and crumbled goat cheese or feta for at least a bit along the same lines.
Top tip: shape the cheese to the toast
Much as you want the cheese to get a bit melty, you want to keep it on the bread, so you may need to shape it to fit. A goat cheese with a rind helps contain the cheese, too.
If your round of cheese is quite a bit bigger than the bread, then you may just need half-rounds on each slice. Then, curl in the sides to give more of the rind around the edge.
How to serve this salad
This salad makes a great lunch or lighter meal, plus it would also work as a side to other things such as grilled chicken or salmon.
While the goat cheese toasts will go soft if left on the salad, if you keep them separate, you can otherwise make this a little in advance and then store in the fridge. The strawberries can bruise a little, but generally the salad travels pretty well if you then add the toasts last minute on the side.
This strawberry asparagus salad is easy, colorful and full of lots of wonderful flavors, and textures. It's great for spring when all the ingredients are in season, but it would be great other times as well. In short, make it and enjoy.
Try these other tasty salad recipes with fruit:
- Grilled chicken and blueberry salad
- Pear gorgonzola salad with maple candied pecans
- Sicilian fennel orange salad
- Thai pomelo salad
- Plus get more lunch recipes and spring recipes in the archives.
Strawberry asparagus salad
For lemon vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more/less to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper or more/less to taste
For rest of salad
- 10 stems asparagus cut in to roughly 1in/2-3cm chunks
- ½ bulb fennel small-med
- 4 handfuls arugula rocket, approx
- 6 strawberries approx
- 6 slices baguette
- 4 oz goats cheese approx weight (a small round, ideally with rind)
- For vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. If you prefer, you can whisk the dressing together in a salad bowl to then add the other ingredients to.
- Steam the asparagus chunks for around 3-5 minutes until tender to the knifepoint then run under cold water or place in a bowl with iced water to stop them cooking further.
- Finely slice the fennel, cutting larger slices in half or smaller. Place the fennel and arugula in a bowl and add the vinaigrette. Toss them together so everything is well coated.
- Add the asparagus, toss gently, then add the strawberries and very gently mix to coat but without breaking up the fruit.
- Toast the slices of baguette lightly and put a piece of the goat cheese on each slice so that the bread is largely covered (for me, this was a half-round slice with the ends tucked in). Toast the slices under the broiler/grill for a couple minutes so that the cheese melts and starts to brown slightly. Arrange over the salad and serve.
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This post was first published in May 2015 and has been updated, primarily with new photos and added video.