This asparagus and arugula salad with cannellini beans recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen is a delicious and healthy choice any time of year. Asparagus’s deep flavor is similar to that of cruciferous vegetables, yet it’s sweeter and more subtle. And with its crisp-tender stalks and frilly tips, its texture is more delicate. To make this standout multipurpose vegetable the center of a bright, fresh salad, choosing the right cooking method is paramount. Sautéing the asparagus briefly delivers a deep flavor and crisp-tender texture without leaching away or degrading valuable nutrients. The addition of cannellini beans adds a subtle nutty flavor and a smooth contrast to the asparagus. Arugulas peppery flavor holds up well against the other bold flavors, and a generous sprinkling of toasted walnuts rouns out the dish with nutty flavor and crunch. A zesty balsamic dressing gives the salad a decidedly Italian touch.
Quick Tips for Making this Asparagus and Arugula Salad
- Rinsing the canned cannellini beans eliminates any slimy texture. Look for asparagus spears no thicker than ½ inch.
- Key equipment: 12-inch nonstick skillet & an all-purpose whisk
Serves 4 to 6
Time: 35 minutes
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1-inch lengths
- Salt and pepper
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 6 ounces (6 cups) baby arugula
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped coarse (optional)
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking; stir in onion and cook until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in asparagus, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is browned and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in beans; transfer to large plate and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Whisk vinegar, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl until combined.
- Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 3 tablespoons oil.
- In a large bowl, toss arugula and walnuts with 2 tablespoons dressing until coated.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and divide among serving plates.
- Toss asparagus mixture with remaining dressing, and arrange over arugula.
This recipe is an excellent source of Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Manganese