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Raw asparagus makes a lasting impression in this spring salad

Staff, America's Test Kitchen on

With the change of seasons, it’s time for a fresh approach to your lunch/dinner prep. This vibrant salad features raw asparagus, rather than a roasted version, and an herb-based dressing.

Round out the meal with thinly sliced pears and toasted almonds for crunch, grapes for a touch of sweetness, and goat cheese for a bit of tang.

Asparagus Salad with Grapes, Goat Cheese and Almonds

Serves 4 to 6

Note: Parmesan can be substituted for the Pecorino Romano. Grate the cheese for the pesto with a rasp-style grater or use the small holes of a box grater; shave the cheese for the salad with a vegetable peeler. For easier slicing, select large asparagus spears, about 1/2-inch thick.

For the pesto:

2 cups fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

 

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed

6 ounces grapes, thinly sliced (1 cup)

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

3/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

Salt and pepper

1. FOR THE PESTO: Process mint, basil, Pecorino, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely chopped, about 20 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in oil until combined and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. FOR THE SALAD: Cut asparagus tips from stalks into 3/4-inch-long pieces. Slice asparagus stalks 1/8 inch thick on bias into approximate 2-inch lengths. Add asparagus tips and stalks, grapes, goat cheese, and almonds to pesto and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

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