Spring vegetables pair with creamy avocado and white beans to make this show-stopper of a salad that is beautiful enough for an elegant brunch and simple enough to be part of your next meal prep. Sautéed garlic and lemon zest give it bold flavor, so a little fresh lemon juice is the only dressing it needs. We topped it with chopped pistachios to add crunch and for their lovely green hue.
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. Young, thin asparagus will work best in this quickly cooked recipe. 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, but some farms are now growing sprouts year-round. If you can’t find them at your market, substitute watercress or baby spinach to enjoy this salad any time.
This delicious asparagus and white bean salad is served warm, but can also be made ahead and served chilled. It is a perfect side dish for chicken or fish, and with 9 grams of protein and fiber, is hearty enough to be eaten as a vegetarian main course. If you are making it ahead of time, or for meal prep, add the avocado just before serving.
Warm Asparagus and White Bean Salad
This asparagus and white bean salad combines spring vegetables with creamy avocado and pistachios
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 bunch asparagus spears cut into 1-inch pieces (about 12 spears)
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup white (cannellini) beans (or navy beans), drained, rinsed
- 2 cups pea tendrils or watercress or baby spinach
- 1 medium ripe 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.
Tip: Pea tendrils are also called pea shoots. They are the early stems of the pea plant. If you can’t find them, or don’t grow them, use watercress or baby spinach.
The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.
Photos by Kirsten Morningstar