Recipes Dinners Dinners By Types Salads Green Salads

Spring Vegetable Salad with Asparagus, Peas and Radishes

This fresh and healthy salad is packed with all of your favorite spring veggies: thinly shaved asparagus, English peas, snap peas, and radishes.

Crisp and Refreshing Green Spring Salad
Alison Bickel

After months of cooking every iteration of winter greens and hearty root vegetables, I enthusiastically welcome the fresh crop of vegetables that arrives each spring.

Asparagus, English peas, little carrots, young radishes, and snap peas are all so sweet and tender, they require very little to make them shine. My first inclination is always the same: turn the produce of early spring into fresh, pretty salads.

This easy-to-make vegetable salad is an excellent way to kick off the season. Serve as a simple side or add your favorite protein to make it a complete meal.

How to Prep the Vegetables

Young spring vegetables are often quite terrific eaten raw. Shave or thinly slice asparagus and you’ll see that it needs no cooking at all. The same goes for snap peas, which add delicate crunch to every bite of this salad.

English peas can be sweet or a little starchy. It’s best to pop a few out of their pod and give them a taste.

If they’re good and tender, add them raw to any salad. If the peas are a touch starchy, shell them and blanch briefly in boiling water, shock in ice water, then drain. The same goes for fava beans.

What’s in the Dressing

The dressing is bright and acidic thanks to the juice and zest of a lemon. Two tablespoons of crème fraîche or sour cream adds richness without making the salad heavy.

It’s seasoned with lots of fresh chives, which pair well with spring vegetables. Consider making a double batch of the dressing, since it will last for several days in the fridge and is tasty with virtually any salad green or drizzled over both raw and cooked vegetables.

Green Spring Salad with Asparagus and Peas
Alison Bickel

How to Dress a Salad

When it comes to dressing a salad, the first order of business is to wait until just before serving. It’s best to start with a light hand. Too much dressing out of the gate and you’ll have a heap of gloppy greens.

Start by drizzling about half of the dressing evenly over the salad. Use a pair of salad tongs to toss everything together. Taste a leaf of lettuce and if it needs more dressing, drizzle on a little more and toss again. The salad is adequately dressed when the lettuce is lightly coated, but not soggy.

Of course, you can always serve the dressing on the side.

Make It a Meal

The salad makes an excellent side dish to virtually any spring supper. I am partial to a simple roast chicken with root vegetables. That said, you can also turn this salad into a lunch main dish or light supper with the addition of a crusty baguette and one of the following additions:

  • Boiled eggs: Use this simple cooking method to make them. Once cooked, cut them in half, season with salt and pepper, and tuck them on the side or right on top this salad. If you like the eggs a little on the jammy side like I do, cut the cooking time by a couple of minutes.
  • Chicken: Cook seasoned chicken breasts on the grill. Let cool slightly, slice, and drizzle a little dressing over the top. Serve the chicken alongside the salad.
  • Goat cheese: Cut thin slices of baguette, toast, and spread while still warm with fresh goat cheese. Serve a couple of goat cheese toasts with the salad.
  • Smoked salmon: Finish your salad off with thinly sliced smoked salmon topped with capers and dill. Alternatively, serve with baked fresh salmon or these easy Salmon Patties..
  • Grains: Make it a vegetarian meal by serving it with grains on the side, such as this Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad.
  • Shrimp: Sauté peeled and deveined shrimp in an olive-oil slicked skillet. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and dash of your favorite spice.
Vegetable Salad in an oval platter.
Alison Bickel

Swaps and Substitutions

This type of salad is built for flexibility. Here are a few ideas for switching it up:

  • Swap sour cream for crème fraîche in the dressing
  • Finely chop 2 scallions or 1 minced shallot to use in place of the chives
  • Use 1 heaping cup homemade croutons in place of the toasted almonds
  • Use another lettuce, such as red leaf, Little Gems, or chopped hearts of Romaine
  • Add thinly sliced young carrots or fennel
  • Crumble in good quality feta cheese or add shaved Parmesan cheese over the top
  • Swap fava beans or cooked edamame for English peas.

More Green Spring Salad Recipes

Spring Vegetable Salad with Asparagus, Peas and Radishes

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • For the salad:
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 heaping cup sliced almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning the salad
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen (defrosted) English peas
  • 6 stalks asparagus, tough ends trimmed 
  • 15 snap peas, strings stripped off
  • 4 radishes
  • 1 head butter lettuce, washed and torn into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint (or fresh dill, tarragon or a combination), roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Method

  1. Toast the almonds:

    Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the almonds and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and toast in the pan, stirring occasionally, until almonds are  browned across the surface, about 5 minutes.

    Transfer to a plate to cool.

    Toasting almonds for a Crisp and Refreshing Green Spring Salad
    Alison Bickel
  2. Blanch peas if needed:

    If using fresh or frozen peas that are sweet and tender, leave them as is and add into a large bowl.

    If the peas are a bit starchy, blanch in a pot of salted boiling water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain peas, and immerse in ice water, then drain and put in a large serving bowl. Set aside.

  3. Cut veggies and assemble salad:

    Cut the asparagus and snap peas on a diagonal into very thin slices. You should have about 1 cup of each. Cut the radishes into paper thin slices. Add the asparagus, snap peas, radishes, lettuce, and mint into the bowl with the peas.

    Vegetables chopped on a cutting board to make a Crisp and Refreshing Green Spring Salad.
    Alison Bickel
  4. Make the salad dressing:

    Whisk together the crème fraîche, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, mustard, and salt in a small bowl.

    Dressing whisked in a small bowl for a Vegetable Salad.
    Alison Bickel
  5. Dress the salad:

    Drizzle about two-thirds of the dressing over the salad, toss well. Add more dressing if needed and toss again (you may have some leftover dressing). Taste and season with fresh ground black pepper and salt, if needed. Garnish with toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

    Greenest Spring Green Salad set next to a cutting board.
    Alison Bickel