I LOVE asparagus – I love it hot, cold, grilled, fried, and raw. But this Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan has a special place on my table because it is soooo crazy flavorful. Lemon, Parmesan, and shallots blend perfectly with the asparagus, creating a mouth-watering side or salad nobody will be able to resist!
This is the ULTIMATE make-ahead side because the flavors just get better as it sits! Just be sure to make enough because everyone is going to gobble up this easy peasy keto asparagus recipe. Ready to get cooking? Read on and I, Chef Jenn, will show you all my cheffy tips and tricks to make this amazing keto asparagus salad recipe perfectly every time!
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What You Need To Make this Keto Asparagus Salad Recipe
- Fresh asparagus – sorry, frozen just won’t work in this recipe!
- Olive or avocado oil
- Lemon juice – fresh is best!
- Lemon zest
- Dijon mustard
- Parmesan cheese – use the good stuff in this recipe!
How To Buy Asparagus
Long or short, thick stems or thin… asparagus comes in all shapes and sizes! But, buying it isn’t hard. Here is what to look for:
- Look for asparagus bundles that contain asparagus spears that area all about the same diameter.
- Thick or thin? It doesn’t matter – and the thickness has nothing to do with the age of the asparagus. In fact, the thinner spears can often be tougher. I personally like the thicker ones.
- Asparagus should have firm tips, not brushy, open, slimy or discolored.
- I pick asparagus that doesn’t have too much white/light green near the stem end. That’s going to get discarded – or you can wash it and freeze it to make vegetable broth or soups like this Cream of Asparagus Soup.
How to Clean Asparagus
Asparagus grows up through the dirt, and nothing will ruin a dish faster than biting into grit. Wash your asparagus thoroughly and enjoy every bite of this delicious lemon and Parmesan asparagus recipe. Here’s how I do it:
- Snap the woody ends off each spear, one at a time
- Rinse 2-3 spears under fast-running water, with the brushy tips in the stream of water. This will help dislodge any grit. Repeat until they’re all washed.
- Fill a large bowl or pot with enough water that the asparagus are floating. Swish them around vigorously then remove them, leaving behind the water. When the water settles, feel the bottom of the bowl – if there’s grit or sand, you need to wash them again under running water. If the bottom of the bowl feels clean, they are good to go.
How To Make Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon & Parmesan
- Blanch the asparagus – bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and add a good pinch of salt. Add the asparagus and bring it back to a boil. As soon as it boils, drain the asparagus and plunge it into ice-water to stop the cooking process. Drain when it is chilled and set aside.
- Make the dressing – whisk together the Dijon mustard and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking all the while. Add the lemon zest, chopped shallots, and Parmesan cheese.
- To assemble the salad – arrange the asparagus spears on a pretty plate and top with the dressing. Enjoy!
How to Make This Easy Asparagus Salad Recipe Ahead of Time
- First, blanch the asparagus, drain and refrigerate.
- Mix the dressing and refrigerate.
- When you’re ready to eat, whisk up the dressing, assemble the salad and enjoy!
Chef Jenn’s Tips
- I like thick asparagus spears in this recipe. Count on about 3-4 thick ones per person, or 5ish thin ones per person, when buying the asparagus.
- Use good Parmesan cheese for this recipe – shave it off the block if possible, and grate a bit extra for a pretty garnish.
- Shallots look like small onions but they have a lovely, mild flavor. If you can’t find shallots, use a similar amount of sweet onion. Red, white, and yellow onions will be too strong for this dish.
- There’s a fair bit of dressing for this recipe, but if you’ve got over a pound of asparagus, double the dressing so it’s not too sparse.
- Lemons are all different – taste the dressing and add more lemon if it needs a bit more acidity. You want to taste the lemon in this dish.
What To Serve with Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
This easy asparagus side dish recipe goes so well with so many dishes. Try it with smoked turkey thighs, grilled chicken, keto Pulled Pork, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken, air fryer whole chicken, or your favorite meats.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, this dish won’t be the same if you freeze it. Asparagus is one of the vegetables I never freeze or buy frozen – I can’t stand the limp, mushy spears when they’ve been thawed. Do this salad right, and the tender-crisp asparagus will make you convert, too!
It’ll keep fine for 2-3 days if tightly wrapped in the fridge. The dressing will keep for up to a week. You may see some discoloration on the asparagus from the dressing – this is fine, it is just the acidity of the lemon juice reacting with the asparagus. It’ll still taste fine.
Heck yes! Loaded with fiber and naturally low in carbs, this is a great pick on the keto diet. Plus, it’s so versatile – you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
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Step By Step Process
Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
- 1 pound asparagus trimmed and washed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped shallots
- 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese plus more for the garnish
- 1 tbps lemon zest
- pinch salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the asparagus, and when it returns to a boil, drain the asparagus and put it immediately into a bowl of ice-water to stop the cooking process. Drain it when chilled, and set aside.
- Make the vinaigrette by whisking the lemon juice and Dijon mustard together. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.
- Add the finely chopped shallots, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Season with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper if necessary.
- Chill the asparagus and the dressing separately in the fridge, and before eating, drizzle the dressing over hte asparagus, top with a bit of shaved asparagus, and serve!
A Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed. Erythritol carbs (sugar substitutes) are not included in the carbohydrate counts as they have been shown not to impact blood sugar, and they have zero calories and zero carbs. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
I’m always messing around in the kitchen creating new recipes, but these are some of my favorite all-time picks that I make again and again:
- Crack cauliflower
- This dump-and-go Instant Pot recipe
- Tex-Mex beefy goodness
- Grilled vegetables
- Keto French dip chaffwich
11 thoughts on “Cold Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan”
This was such a refreshing dish! I usually have asparagus warm, but it made for a wonderful cold salad, especially with that Parmesan and bright lemon.
I love grilled asparagus but had never served it cold. We all enjoyed this recipe. Thanks!
Oh yum! I love that the asparagus can be prepped ahead of time. Sounds incredible paired with the lemon and parmesan.
This is delicious and so nice to have on hand for snacking or a quick side dish.
I’m with you, I love asparagus no matter how it’s prepared! Such a great combo with the lemon and parm.
I have everything BUT the lemon. Will this work with lime?
You won’t get the same flavor profile but yes, it’ll work with lime. I’d be more inclined to try it with some dry white wine (like chardonnay) before I used lime. Try it! Let me know how it goes! ~Jenn
I’m making this for a bridal shower. There will be 40 guests. My question is this: Can I blanch all of the asparagus the day before? I just don’t want it to get mushy. Obviously, I will have to blanch in batches and I won’t over cook it.
For sure! Blanch it in batches, as you suggested, then cool it down quickly in an ice bath and it’ll be just fine overnight in the fridge. Enjoy! ~Jenn
I’m making this recipe tonight for tomorrow’s Easter gathering! It’s going to be delish, for sure. Thank you! It’s all sepersted in the fridge ready to be combined tomorrow. Please note your very last sentence of the recipe instructions says ‘to top with shaved asparagus’ – I’m pretty sure you meant ‘top with shaved parmesan’.
I hope you and your family/friends loved it! Thanks for the edit suggestion – I’ll fix that right up! ~Jenn