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Fresh, Easy Asparagus Lemon Salad

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Can You Eat Raw Asparagus?  Yes, You Can!

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Funny how things work. I never really cared for asparagus, but since I lived for a time in prime asparagus country, where it’s known as “Hadley Grass” in Western Massachusetts, I can’t get enough of it. Coming to love asparagus makes me realize sometimes things just need a fresh look.

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Fresh Asparagus

Most often asparagus is simmered in water, or perhaps grilled or broiled. This salad is completely raw, which is something really fresh and different. The lemon gives the salad real punch, the pine nuts a nice fatty richness, and the parmesan rounds it all out with a lovely sharp mouthful of umami. There’s no fancy equipment needed, just the swift use of an old-fashioned sharp vegetable peeler. It’s pretty simple stuff. Good ingredients, just enough done to them to maximize flavor without going overboard. It’s a new perspective on things. I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.

Bon Appétit Y’all!

Virginia Willis


Raw Asparagus and Lemon Salad

Author: Virginia Willis


  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small shallot very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts toasted
  • 1 pound asparagus spears tough bottoms removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a medium pan over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a small bowl to cool.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the asparagus lengthwise into strips and place in a large bowl. (If you have any trouble peeling the asparagus, place the spear on the flat wooden handle of a spatula. This will lift it high enough to allow the peeler to move freely.)
  • Whisk the olive oil into the lemon-vinegar mixture in a thin and steady stream. Taste and season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  • Add the reserved pine nuts, dressing, half of the Parmesan, and the parsley to the asparagus and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Copyright © 2021 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.)

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Julie Chrisley with her cooking -- but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Virginia is a chef instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen and author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at

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