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Marinated Asparagus Vinaigrette Salad is always special, especially each spring and summer when fresh asparagus abounds. Make this salad ahead of time, by a couple of hours, and see a lovely meal come together quickly. Simply add lettuce greens and a simple protein.
Perfect as a salad, side dish or appetizer, serve the spears long and whole, or chop into sections to serve as a spoonable side dish that’s easy to eat or nibble.
Marinated Asparagus Vinaigrette Salad is perfect for a variety of whole food diets: Paleo, Keto, AIP, Whole30, VAD and Vegan. Enjoy lovely, wholesome ingredients, no vegetable oils and a little versatility with the ingredients based on your unique dietary needs.
Even enjoy this salad on a medium-low oxalate diet. I give those instructions in the recipe.
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Ingredients in Marinated Asparagus Salad
This recipe uses one pound of fresh asparagus. You may also double the recipe for a bigger crowd.
The vinaigrette ingredients are:
- olive oil, or you may also use part MCT oil (up to 1 tablespoon per person you’re serving)
- fresh lemon juice OR balsamic — This can be based on your dietary needs, preference or on what you’re serving with the salad.
- coconut aminos — adds a subtle deep, rich and subtly sweet note to the recipe that nicely offsets the lemon juice or vinegar and rounds out the oil
- dried or fresh mint — also perfect in the spring and summer months; basil may also be used
- Dijon mustard — omit for AIP, and optional for VAD
- fresh garlic — omit for VAD and optional for Keto
- sea salt
- dried ginger powder — works like pepper, but healthier for most people (For non-AIP and VAD, you may also use pepper if preferred.)
TO THICKEN: If you are not AIP, and you would like to thicken the vinaigrette dressing just a little bit so it stays more viscous, you may also add half to one teaspoon of chia seed meal or basil seed meal. The basil seed meal is extra nice because it imparts the basil flavor to the dressing.
Simply whisk in the meal, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then whisk one more time. You’ll have a thicker dressing that also settles less.
MORE ZIP: Add the zest of half a lemon for a more pronounced lemon flavor and a stronger overall dressing flavor. (Not for VAD.)
How to make Asparagus Vinaigrette Salad
Because asparagus is not eaten raw, we first simmer it very briefly before it marinates.
While I once thought steaming was better to preserve nutrients, I also remember my mom making a similar salad growing up — and she did not steam.
She used the French method of simmering the asparagus spears in water, in a shallow skillet, then draining off the excess water that remained. Rinsing with cold to partially stop the cooking — and adding the vinaigrette. Then refrigerating.
This is the method I use — or similar to it.
To reduce oxalates
For lower oxalate, I now know that a brief saucepan simmer is also not such a bad thing. (Don’t think of it as boiling.)
To reduce oxalates in asparagus: simmer the chopped spears in a bit more water, for just a few minutes. Then, pour off the water, rinse with cold water, toss with the dressing — and marinate.
Whether skillet or saucepan, less water or more, we cook the asparagus only a few minutes, so it’s still bright green with a slight crispness to it. It will keep cooking a bit even after being rinsed.
After asparagus cooks, it does not immediately absorb (or cling to) the vinaigrette with which it’s dressed. It actually needs to marinate in order to absorb the dressing and remain cloaked with it.
But while marinating, the vinaigrette seeps right into the al dente veggie, and the veggie is cloaked deeply with the flavors and ingredients.
How to serve
That being said, when you serve: Drain the asparagus as you spoon it up, reserving the vinaigrette.
You may then either:
- Serve Asparagus Salad over salad greens, and pour some of the extra dressing over all.
- Or, arrange on a serving platter sprinkled with fresh mint/basil, sea salt and optional lemon zest. Serve reserved vinaigrette in a small dish on the side.
Asparagus Vinaigrette Salad (Paleo, AIP, Keto, Whole30)
- large skillet or medium saucepan
- mixing bowl or platter ; optional: large plastic bag
- 1 pound asparagus trimmed; I usually buy a big 1-½ lb bunch, and then once the ends are cut off, it weighs 1 lb.
- ⅓ cup olive oil or use part MCT oil if desired
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice fresh OR balsamic vinegar (depending on what else you're serving the salad with)
- 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon dried mint or 1 Tablespoon fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (omit for AIP, optional for VAD)
- ½ clove garlic minced or crushed (omit for VAD, optional for Keto)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger power
- Optional ingredient for vinaigrette: ½ to 1 teaspoon chia seed meal or basil seed meal to thicken the dressing. Whisk it in, wait a few minutes, and then whisk again. (NOT for AIP.)
- Optional ingredients for garnish and "pop" flavor: fresh mint or fresh basil, sliced thinly, zest of half a lemon, finishing salt
- Place asparagus in a large skillet if you wish to serve the spears whole; add 1/2" of water. If chopping your asparagus and for lower oxalate, use a saucepan, in which case: add asparagus to saucepan, and fill with water just to cover.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. For skillet, cover. For saucepan, do not cover. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 to 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender to your liking.
- Rinse in cold water briefly; drain. (The asparagus will still be warm. This is okay. It will continue cooking a little bit more, and the warmth will help it to absorb the vinaigrette.)
- Place asparagus spears in a shallow dish (or plastic bag for best marinating) or chopped asparagus in a mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over asparagus, and toss to coat. Press asparagus down into the dressing as much a possible. (There will be a lot of dressing! You can use for salad greens after the marinating.) Marinate 3 hours.
- If time allows, let stand at room temperature for an hour before serving. Drain the asparagus as you spoon it up, reserving the vinaigrette. Serve Asparagus Salad over salad greens (butter lettuce is especially good), and pour some of the extra dressing over all. Or, arrange on a serving platter sprinkled with fresh mint/basil, sea salt and optional lemon zest. Serve reserved vinaigrette in a small dish on the side.
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Enjoy Marinated Asparagus Salad with:
- AIP BBQ Chicken (oven-bake or grill)
- Ginger Lime Salmon (Paleo, Keto, AIP, Whole30)
- Maple Rosemary Chicken (Paleo, Keto, AIP)
- Paleo Beef Short Ribs (Keto, AIP)
- Spicy Honey Lime Chicken Thighs (Paleo, Keto, AIP)
- Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce (Paleo, Keto, AIP)
- Chicken and Wild Mushroom Stew (Paleo, Keto, AIP, Whole30)