This colorful and light salad of asparagus, romaine, and radishes is topped with a creamy lemon-chia dressing. Bright and tangy, this gorgeous salad comes together in less than 20 minutes and is a perfect complement to any meal. Gluten-free, oil-free and vegan.
Well, friends, it’s the middle of April, so it’s probably no mystery where the inspiration for this recipe came from. Asparagus season is upon us! And though I love roasted asparagus (Mark’s favorite), I wanted to use this beautiful spring veggie in a new and fresh way. Paired with beautiful Easter egg radishes, this salad couldn’t be more perfect for springtime.
Health Benefits of Lemon-Chia Dressing
I think you’re going to love this super healthy, WFPB (whole-food, plant-based) diet compliant dressing! The lemon juice brings bright acidity plus a touch of sweetness, while the salt, nutritional yeast, garlic, and cashews round out the flavor and give it a savory edge. But aside from being delicious, this lemon dressing is also supremely nutritious! You know how sometimes you want to douse your salad in a rich and creamy dressing, but you don’t necessarily want to eat a bunch of oil and calories? Well, Lemon-Chia Dressing to the rescue! With no oil in sight, this creamy yet light salad dressing is automatically healthier than most. And then…
Chia seeds provide plant-based omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein and fiber. Cashews introduce a little more creaminess and also provide healthy, whole-food plant fats, fiber and protein. Fresh lemon juice is packed with vitamin C, which helps our bodies absorb iron. And then there’s the clove of garlic! I mean, you really can’t fault this dressing for anything (unless, of course, you have a nut allergy, in which case you can substitute your favorite seed or silken tofu).
In fact, if you like a LOT of dressing on your salads, you might even want to go ahead and double the batch. Just saying.
On the topic of salad dressing flavors: I find them to be very subjective. Have you noticed that? Some of us prefer more acid and some of us less. Some of us love sweet dressings, while others want tons of savoriness. My point is this…. feel free to play around with this lemon/chia/cashew base because at its core, it’s nothing if not versatile! You can tweak the acid, sugar, and salt to your heart’s content and get it juuuuuuusst right for your own taste buds. I really love lemon and wanted that to remain dominant, while the garlic/salt and maple/sweet flavors balance each other for the most part. I encourage you to taste as you go, and keep in mind that even the tiniest changes in ingredients can transform a salad dressing from one you’re on the fence about to one you absolutely love. So have fun with it!
Oh, and here’s another tip: after this dressing chills in the fridge for an hour or two it gets even better.
I hope you enjoy this quick and healthy Asparagus Salad With Lemon-Chia Dressing. If you try it I would love for you to rate the recipe, and leave a comment below to let us know what you paired with your salad. Enjoy!
You might also like this Kale and Golden Beet Salad With Champagne Vinaigrette.
Asparagus Salad With Lemon-Chia Dressing (Oil-Free)
For the dressing:
- 1/8 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
- 1 small clove garlic
- 2 tsp champagne vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the salad:
- 1 head romaine lettuce, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 bunch asparagus, about 16 spears
- 4 radishes, sliced
- Violife vegan parmesan, optional (for oil-free option, sub Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle <--- link in Notes)
- To make the dressing, combine the zest, juice, garlic, vinegar, maple syrup, chia, cashews, water, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Prepare an ice bath large enough to hold all of the asparagus spears. Fill a large saute pan with about 1 inch of water, and place over high heat. Once boiling, carefully add the asparagus. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until fork tender (time will depend on the thickness of the spears). Use a slotted spoon to immediately transfer the asparagus to the ice bath to stop the cooking. Swirl the water around to cool the asparagus quickly. Place a lint-free towel on a plate and transfer the asparagus to the plate. Refrigerate while you prepare the salad.
- Combine the romaine and radishes in a serving bowl. Pat the asparagus dry, and cut it into pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Toss with the romaine and radishes. Serve with lemon-chia dressing and vegan parmesan.