This Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad is so easy and quick to make. In just about 15 minutes you'll have a flavorful and healthy salad for the family to enjoy. The juices from the tomatoes and the crunchiness from the asparagus and red onions - yum!
There's no need for a fancy dressing in this salad. The natural flavors of the ingredients play together so harmoniously! Just a simple combination of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper is enough to season and enhance the flavors.
Like our Asparagus and Mango Salad Recipe and Caprese Salad With Microgreens recipe, this salad is super simple, delicious, and nutritious. Plus, it's super versatile. Add more fresh ingredients for additional benefits. Serve it on a busy weeknight, or for a dinner gathering.
- Asparagus: Asparagus has so many health benefits. It's a great source of potassium, fiber, and Vitamins A, B6, C, K. It's also high in folic acid, so pregnant ladies - enjoy it! The bright green color of the slightly cooked asparagus is so beautiful. Looks great in this salad! If you like asparagus, you should try this Asparagus in Smoked Salmon and Cucumber recipe too.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Choose tomatoes that are firm and smooth to the touch. I love buying cherry tomatoes in different colors, the salad looks so bright and fresh. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, lengthwise.
- Red Onions: The onions add a nice crunch and a little sharpness. Using red onion vs. white/yellow ones is just for the nice color! Red onions are pretty mild, but if you feel that the taste is too sharp, you can soak them in some water for 30 minutes - one hour.
- Cilantro: Cilantro adds an indescribable fresh taste. It smells great too! Just chop up one cup of fresh cilantro, stems and everything.
- Bocconcini Cheese: Bocconcini (meaning "little bites" in Italian) are semi-soft, small mozzarella cheese balls. There are so many different varieties and sizes of bocconcini. I like to buy either the ones called Mini-Mini or Pearls. I use them in many recipes, including this Spring Vegetable and Berry Salad. Mini-Minis are a bit larger, so they may need to be sliced in half. Pearls are cute and tiny so they can go in the salad whole.
Substitutions and variations
- Cilantro: Cilantro has a very specific smell and flavor. It's a "love it or hate it" kind of herb. I personally used to hate it. Until I loved it! If you are not a fan, fresh parsley would work great as well.
- Bocconcini Cheese: Because Bocconcini are small, semi-soft unripened mozzarella balls, they can be substituted with similar mozzarella cheese. You can also use feta cheese or blue cheese. Because these cheeses have a more salty flavor, use a little less salt when you season the salad.
- Red onion: Any sweet onion will do! Vidalia or Walla Walla onions.
- Add some nuts and/or seeds: Like in our Sweet Carrot Salad Recipe, adding nuts can only make the salad better. A little bit of slivered almonds and/or sunflower seeds will add extra crunch and nutty flavor. Pine nuts are amazing in the salad too, though more pricey.
STEP 1: Rinse the asparagus and cut off the ends - they will simply snap off. Fill a pan large enough to fit the asparagus with water and bring to a boil. Place the asparagus inside the pan.
STEP 2: Reduce heat to low and cook for about 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus stalk. It should turn bright green and become crisp-tender. Once cooked, drain the boiling water and fill the pan with cold water, and ice cubes from the freezer (if your freezer dispenses ice cubes).
STEP 3: While the asparagus is cooling, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
STEP 4: Slice the cooked and dried asparagus into 2-inch pieces and add to the mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients well to combine.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you can prepare the ingredients in advance, it's best to assemble the salad just before serving to maintain the freshness and crispness of the asparagus.
Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, keep in mind that the texture of the asparagus and cherry tomatoes may change slightly upon refrigeration.
To prevent the asparagus from becoming mushy, blanch them in boiling water for a short time (about 2-3 minutes) and then immediately transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This helps maintain their crisp texture.
The salad is great served with our Healthy Turmeric Oven Roasted Vegetables as a side dish. Or, for non-vegans and non-vegetarians, it's great served with a meat dish, such as this Mexican Style Meatloaf or Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom Recipe. You may also like to try it with a seafood dish, like this Pan Seared Salmon with Vegetables recipe or this Baked Seafood-Stuffed Salmon recipe.
If you tried this Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting!
Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes - sliced in half lengthwise
- 200 gm bocconcini mini-mini or pearls (about 7 oz.)
- 1 bunch asparagus spears tough ends trimmed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/3 red onion diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cooking the Asparagus:
- Fill a medium-sized pan (large enough to fit the asparagus spears) with water and bring to a boil.
- While the water is preparing to boil - break off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard. The ends will snap once you start bending them.
- Rinse the asparagus and add to the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus stalk. It should turn bright green and become crisp-tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of cold water and add ice. This will be used to "shock" the asparagus and prevent it from cooking while it's still hot. We don't want it to be overcooked and mushy. Plus, "shocking" the asparagus in water will help keep the nice bright green color.
- Drain the asparagus and immediately toss them into the icy water. Let them cool in the water for about 20 seconds and transfer the asparagus to a clean paper towel for a quick and gentle pat and dry.
Making the Salad:
- While the asparagus is cooling, slice the tomatoes and bocconcini (if not using the tiny pearl bocconcini) in half, lengthwise, and chop the fresh cilantro, and red onion. Place the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Slice the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and add to the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper and add the olive oil - stir well.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.