Shaved asparagus salad with pesto is a delightful and elegant dish. Packed full of fresh basil, radishes, asparagus and lemon, this salad screams summertime. Bring this salad to your next gathering and be the star of the show!
Most people grab a bunch of asparagus and steam or roast it, which is lovely. But, did you know that you can eat asparagus raw? Raw asparagus has a mild and slightly sweet flavor. It is delicious, and this shaved asparagus salad proves it! This is a salad that I have been making in different variations for years, and it is always a hit whenever I serve it.
How to Shave Asparagus
This salad is a labor of love. You do have to shave each stalk of asparagus individually, but in reality it doesn’t take very long. I shaved an entire bunch of it in under 10 minutes.
Make sure you are using wider stalks of asparagus, as thin stalks will be almost impossible to shave. Start by laying one stalk of asparagus on a cutting board. Holding the tip, use a vegetable peeler to shave down the stalk. I highly recommend using a Y-peeler which makes it easier to shave, but you can use a regular vegetable peeler too. When the first side becomes awkward to shave, turn the stalk over and repeat until you cannot shave anymore. Chop off the tip and roughly chop the remaining stalk. Add tip, shavings and remaining stalk to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining asparagus. Done!
How to Make Pesto
This pesto comes together in a snap. I use half parsley and half basil in this recipe for economy’s sake. Basil can be expensive and this gives you all of the basil flavor without all of the expense. If you have a ton of basil hanging around though, by all means use it up! I use sunflower seeds in this pesto so it is nut free, but this will give your pesto a darker hue. If you want a more vibrant and green pesto, use walnuts or pine nuts in their place.
Add all ingredients to a blender container and blend until smooth, adding more water as necessary to reach desired consistency. You want something that is smooth, but still a little thick so it clings to the shaved asparagus. You will have more pesto than you need for this recipe. Save it and store it in an airtight container for another use. Pesto is great on pizza, pasta, sandwiches and more!
Variations for Shaved Asparagus Salad
-Skip the pesto and use a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
-Add toasted nuts or seeds to the top.
-Add other shaved vegetables such as carrots or golden beets, to add color variety.
-Use other nuts or seeds in place of the sunflower seeds.
-The basil pesto recipe I have below is merely a suggestion. You can use any other herbs you want to easily change the flavors of this salad. You want roughly 2 cups of greens here, so play around with different greens and herbs to make this pesto your own. Try using spinach, cilantro, arugula, tarragon, rosemary or thyme in place of some or all of the basil or parsley.
Can Shaved Asparagus Salad be Made Ahead of Time?
This salad is best eaten within a few hours of making it as the asparagus will start to get limp and the pesto will begin to discolor. If you don’t mind those things, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day.
Shaved Asparagus Salad with Pesto
- 1 bunch asparagus thick stalks
- 4 radishes sliced thin
Make the Pesto
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Add more water a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Season with more salt and lemon juice as desired.
Shaved Asparagus Salad
- Start by laying one stalk of asparagus on a cutting board. Holding the tip, use a vegetable peeler to shave down the stalk. (I highly recommend using a Y-peeler which makes it easier to shave, but you can use a regular vegetable peeler too.) When the first side becomes awkward to shave, turn the stalk over and repeat until you cannot shave anymore. Chop off the tip and roughly chop the remaining stalk. Add tip, shavings and remaining stalk to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining asparagus.
- Toss the shaved asparagus with 1/4 cup pesto. Taste and add more pesto as desired. Add sliced radishes to the top and serve right away!
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