Spring Salad with Asparagus and Peas is crisp, fresh and vibrant, and makes the perfect side dish for a springtime brunch or lunch. It’s topped with goat cheese, cilantro, radishes and almonds, and tossed with a fragrant lemon thyme vinaigrette. You won’t be disappointed with the taste and texture of this colourful salad!
I have been making this salad for a few months now, ever since I first read through Cooking Light’s Healthy Eating Guide (special edition). My favourite way to spend a Saturday morning is with multiple cups of coffee and a foodie magazine. The photos and the recipes are always so inspiring, and it just gears me up for a weekend of experimenting in the kitchen.
On this particular weekend, I had also picked up a fresh bunch of asparagus, my first of the season. So when I was flipping through the magazine and came across a recipe for Spring Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese (and it included asparagus), I knew I had to make a version of it.
This Spring Salad with Asparagus and Peas is similar to Cooking Light’s recipe, but with some of my own additions and substitutions, including different herbs and greens and a lemon thyme vinaigrette.
What you’ll need for this spring salad and lemon thyme vinaigrette:
- Fresh asparagus and peas
- Spring mix (or greens of your choice)
- Goat Cheese
- Raw almonds
- Fresh Thyme
- White wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Can this spring salad be made in advance?
Like most salads on Crumb Top Baking, this one comes together quickly and can definitely be made in advance.
Aside from chopping your vegetables and preparing your greens, there are two elements of this salad that I would encourage you to prepare in advance – making the vinaigrette and blanching the asparagus and peas.
You can make your vinaigrette ahead of time by blending together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour into a mason jar or glass dish with a cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. The vinaigrette will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Just give it a shake or stir before using it as it may solidify slightly in the fridge.
You will also want to blanch your asparagus and peas in advance, either a few hours before serving or even the day before. I’ve included instructions for doing this below.
Once you have this prep work taken care of, assembling this loaded green salad for a family gathering or meal prep is a cinch!
Blanching and shocking the peas and asparagus
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and lots of ice. I like to use a metal bowl as it helps keep the water cold for longer.
Once the pot of water is boiling, add in the asparagus and peas and cook for just 2-3 minutes, or until tender. (I usually leave the lid off the pot). Drain the water and immediately plunge (or shock) the asparagus and peas into the ice bath. Leave them in there until they have cooled completely. The ice bath stops the cooking process and ensures the vegetables maintain their vibrant colour and firm texture. (Trust me, you don’t want mushy asparagus and peas in your salad!)
Drain the water and ice from the bath and gently pat the vegetables dry with a paper towel. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
If you want to read a little more about blanching and shocking vegetables, Cook’s Illustrated covers some tips and how-to’s.
Some other tips for making this spring salad
If you can’t find fresh peas, you can use frozen and cook them for the same amount of time as you would for fresh.
Dried thyme can be substituted for fresh thyme in the vinaigrette, just be sure to reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon as most dried herbs are more potent than fresh.
This recipe works well with other greens too. So if you prefer spinach, arugula or kale, feel free to substitute one or all three for the spring mix.
If you’re not a fan of cilantro, feel free to substitute parsley or leave it out altogether.
What to serve with Spring Salad with Asparagus and Peas
If you’re serving this as a side salad for brunch or lunch, you could pair it with this mediterranean quiche with almond crust or tomato, arugula and mozzarella quiche. These combos would be light, flavourful and satisfying. Totally brunch worthy!
And if backyard grilling weather has arrived where you are, well, you just need to add this spicy jalapeno turkey burger to your plate of salad, and you’re all set!
Need more salad inspiration? Check out some of these recipes:
- Lemon and Herb Orzo Salad with Roasted Zucchini by Killing Thyme
Spring Salad with Asparagus and Peas is crisp, fresh and vibrant, and makes the perfect side dish for a springtime brunch or lunch. It’s topped with goat cheese, cilantro, radishes and almonds, and tossed with a fragrant lemon thyme vinaigrette!
Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 16 spears fresh asparagus, halved with ends trimmed
- 2 cups fresh peas
- 5 cups mixed greens, packed
- 1 cup radishes, sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, packed and stems mostly removed
- 1/2 cup almonds, raw
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Prepare the vinaigrette: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Store in a jar or glass container with a lid, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Blanch the asparagus and peas: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and lots of ice. Add the asparagus and peas to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Drain and quickly plunge into the ice bath. When the asparagus and peas have fully cooled, drain the water and gently pat them dry with a paper towel. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl or on 6 plates, add the spring mix, radishes, cilantro, almonds and goat cheese. Top with the asparagus and peas. Drizzle on the vinaigrette and serve.
- If you can’t find fresh peas, you can use frozen and cook them for the same amount of time as you would for fresh.
- You can substitute dried thyme for fresh thyme, just reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon.
- This recipe works well with other greens, so if you prefer spinach, arugula or kale, feel free to substitute for the spring mix.
- If you’re not a fan of cilantro, feel free to substitute parsley or leave it out altogether.
- This recipe was adapted from Cooking Light’s recipe for Spring Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese.
Keywords: spring salad, green salad