Asparagus and Avocado Salad

5 from 4 votes
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Asparagus and Avocado Salad with marinated fennel, crispy panko, and double-sesame dressing. This asparagus salad recipe is perfect for spring entertaining.

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Asparagus avocado salad styled on a blue and white serving platter.
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Why You’ll Love this Asparagus Avocado Salad

This stunning asparagus salad is impressive enough for entertaining, yet easy enough for weekdays.

Much like my 30 Minute Pesto Tortellini Salad, it incorporates peak spring produce with plenty of satisfying textures and flavors.

The key is including a mix of both creamy and crunchy, and cooked and raw veggies. This adds intrigue to every bite, and makes for a downright addictive salad. (I use a similar technique in this Cucumber Avocado Salad.)

You will also LOVE the double-sesame dressing, which coats all the nooks and crannies of the salad with creamy, rich flavor.

This asparagus avocado salad is basically begging to be served at your next spring brunch or dinner gathering! (Just don’t forget the Strawberry Lemon Brunch Cake for dessert!)

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe ingredients arranged on a wooden board with labels.
  • Asparagus: You need one bunch of asparagus, which should be cut at a diagonal into 2 to 3″ inch long pieces. Make sure you cook the asparagus until barely tender – it should still have some bite!
  • Fennel: Marinating the fennel in a little lemon juice tames its anise-like flavor. Be sure to reserve the fronds for garnish!
  • Avocado: You need one large or two small avocados, which should be just ripe (not overly soft).
  • Lemon: For marinating the fennel and adding brightness.
  • Tahini: One of the sesame components in the dressing, tahini adds creamy richness.
  • Panko: I love adding a golden, toasted panko topping to the salad for richness and crunch.
  • Vinegar: I prefer the mild flavor of rice vinegar.
  • Sesame Oil: Look for toasted sesame oil, which is much bolder in flavor.
  • Maple Syrup: A little sweetness helps balance the bitterness of the dressing. Alternatively, you can use honey or date syrup.
  • Sesame Seeds: White or black sesame seeds will work!
  • Parmesan: It may seem like an odd ingredient in this lineup, however a little Parmesan really amps up the umami! If making the recipe dairy free, simply omit it or swap for nutritional yeast.

See recipe card for complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Asparagus salad recipe assembled on a serving platter topped with panko breadcrumbs.

Substitutions/Additions

  • Shaved Asparagus Salad: Instead of sautéing the asparagus, you can use a vegetable peeler to shave the raw stalks.
  • Grilled Asparagus Salad: Leave the stalks whole and grill them on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan until char marks appear. At this point, you can serve them whole, or slice them into smaller chunks for the salad.
  • Make Gluten Free: Use a gluten free panko, or finely crush 1/3 cup of pine nuts instead.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare fennel by removing the stocks and root end, and slicing the bulb in half. Remove the core from each half with your knife. Peel off the outer layer, and thinly slice each half on a mandoline. (Reserve fennel fronds for garnish.)

Place fennel in a bowl and toss with lemon juice and salt. Let sit for 20 minutes while you prepare remainder of salad.

A bulb of fennel being sliced and shaved until thin on a cutting board.

Step 2: Sauté asparagus in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until JUST tender.

Asparagus being sautéed in a large tan skillet.

Step 3: Prepare dressing by combining tahini, vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl. Whisk in 2 Tablespoons of water until smooth and creamy.

Sesame dressing being whisked until smooth in a red bowl.

Step 4: Toast breadcrumbs and sesame seeds in a skillet until golden. Transfer to a bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese.

Toasted breadcrumbs in a bowl, and salad being assembled on a blue and white platter.

Step 5: Assemble salad by spreading asparagus on a plate or serving platter. Scatter fennel overtop, followed by avocado slices, panko mixture, and dressing. Garnish with fennel fronds and black pepper.

Recipe FAQs

How Do You Make Asparagus Crispy and not Soggy?

The key to maintaining crispy asparagus is to not overcook it. The asparagus should only be sautéed for about 3 minutes to maintain its bite and bright color green. Overcooking asparagus will render it stringy and hard to chew.

Make-Ahead Tips:

The dressing can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can also toast the breadcrumb mixture a few hours ahead.

How to Store:

This salad is best enjoyed fresh, however it will last up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Transfer asparagus salad to an airtight container before storing. The panko mixture will lose its crunch, however the flavors will stay sharp.

Serving Suggestions:

Fresh, bright, and easy to make, this asparagus avocado salad pairs well with all kinds of dinner recipes. 

Gold salad tongs tossing asparagus and avocado salad.

More Spring Salad Recipes to Try:

If you try this asparagus salad recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.

5 from 4 votes

Asparagus and Avocado Salad

Asparagus and Avocado Salad with fennel, crispy panko, and double-sesame dressing. This asparagus salad recipe is perfect for spring entertaining.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 5

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 1 small fennel bulb (with fronds attached)
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced at a diagonal into thirds
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper, plus for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large (or 2 small) avocados, peeled and cut into small wedges or thin slices

Double-Sesame Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lower-sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger (or dried)
  • 2 Tbsp. water
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Instructions 

  • Prepare fennel by removing the stocks and root end, and slicing the bulb in half. Remove the core from each half with your knife. Peel off the outer layer, and thinly slice each half on a mandoline. (Reserve fennel fronds for garnish.)
    Place fennel in a bowl and add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. salt; toss to combine. Let sit for 20 minutes while you prepare the remainder of salad.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add breadcrumbs and sesame seeds; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until golden and toasted. Transfer to a bowl.
    Add remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Add asparagus and cook until barely tender, about 3 minutes. (The asparagus should still be bright green with some bite to it.) Season with 1/4 tsp. each of salt and black pepper, and remove pan from heat.
    Once breadcrumbs are slightly cool, stir in Parmesan cheese.
  • Prepare dressing by combining all ingredients (except water) in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. Whisk in water in 1 Tablespoon increments until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
  • Assemble salad by arranging asparagus on a large serving platter. Scatter marinated fennel overtop, followed by avocado slices. Squeeze remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice over avocado slices, and season them with 1/4 tsp. salt. Scatter panko mixture overtop, and drizzle with dressing. Garnish salad with fennel fronds and a few grinds of black pepper.

Notes

This salad is best enjoyed fresh, however it can be refrigerated and enjoyed as leftovers for 2 days. The panko will lose its crisp, however the flavors will stay sharp.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.75cups | Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 430mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. Connie says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! We loved this… slightly labor intense but so worth it, the perfect balance of flavors, textures, acid. Totally company worthy. Will be making again, thanks for another great recipe Jamie!

    1. Natalie says:

      5 stars
      So flavorful! I did modify a few things based on what I had on hand. I swapped the avocado for zuchinni and left out the ginger because I didn’t have any. It was still delicious. Definitely takes some time to make but worth it.