Spring vegetables pair with creamy avocado and white beans to make this show-stopper of a salad.
Sautéed garlic and lemon zest give it bold flavor, so a little fresh lemon juice is the only dressing it needs. Top it with chopped pistachios to add crunch and for their lovely green hue.
Young, thin asparagus will work best in this quickly cooked recipe. Look for bright green, tender stalks of asparagus with tightly closed tips. Avoid asparagus that looks limp or bruised or has woody stems.
If you don’t plan to cook your asparagus immediately, chop about an inch off the bottom of each stalk and wrap the cut ends in a damp paper towel, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
If you buy thicker asparagus, you may want to add an additional minute or two to the cooking time.
Pea tendrils contribute an additional element of spring’s bounty to this salad. Pea tendrils (or pea shoots) are the new leaves and vining stems of pea plants.
They taste mildly like peas, but also have floral notes and crunch that can take the place of lettuce.
They are traditionally available only in spring, so if you can’t find them at your market, you can substitute with watercress or baby spinach.
This delicious asparagus and white bean salad is served warm, but can also be made ahead and served chilled.
Warm Asparagus and White Bean Salad
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 12 spears)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup canned white beans (or cannellini beans or navy beans), drained, rinsed
- 2 cups pea tendrils (or watercress or baby spinach)
- 1 medium avocado, chopped
- 20 raw pistachios, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)
Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add asparagus; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until asparagus is tender-crisp.
Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
Place asparagus mixture, beans, pea tendrils, avocado, pistachios, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a medium bowl; toss gently to blend.
Divide evenly between four serving bowls.
Pea tendrils are also called pea shoots. They are the early stems of the pea plant. You can also use watercress or baby spinach.
The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.
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Photo by Kirsten Morningstar