ribboned asparagus salad with lemon

Spring arrived while I totally wasn’t paying attention. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days. Over the winter, this was hardly a discomfort but now that we’re getting glimpses of the warm weather to come, I’m finding it harder to look out my kitchen window at these people walking down the sidewalk with their sandals and short sleeves and a pep in their step and an air of freedom around them I can sense even from four flights up and not feel consumed with envy. The other day, as I wearily approached round five of something I was stupidly convinced I’d nail on round one, I saw one of these not-sweating-it-out-in-a-shoebox-kitchen types carrying a bundle of tulips and I had to close my eyes for a minute and imagine myself somewhere I’d rather be. And then I walked out of the kitchen and went there.

it's back!

You see, I’ve been avoiding the Greenmarket as well. It’s been a Brownmarket for over half a year and there are only so many cold storage apples and yams one can stomach before they fall for the ever-freakishly-ripe berries the street carts are selling. But it was nearly May and sticky as July outside and I had a hunch that things had improved while I was buried under pots and pans. And lo and behold, stands were bursting with things that had been recently plucked from the ground: spinach! ramps! bright pink orbs of radishes too! asparagus for miles! And as I brought home my first haul of the season — and a little package waiting downstairs — I knew exactly what every single one of us must do this very second with the asparagus.

ribbon-ing the asparagus

shaving off the parmesan
generous dose of lemon
very toasty pine nuts

A year ago, I signed a cookbook contract — no the cookbook isn’t finished yet, I mean, what cookbook? — and to celebrate, my editor and I went out to lunch at the Union Square Cafe. I ordered the asparagus salad and was presented with something fascinating — raw asparagus, thinly shaved, and heavily decked out with parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was, to be honest, overdressed, as if it were self-conscious about being uncooked but I ate the entire tangled plate just the same. Then I came home and turned it into a pizza for you but this time around, I think we should do it as a salad proper. With a peeler, a lemon, some pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil, you are minutes from turning your first bundle of asparagus stalks ribbony salad, and possibly question why you ever bothered cooking asparagus at all.

ribboned asparagus salad

One year ago: Homemade Pop Tarts, Cabbage and Lime Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Leek Bread Pudding
Two years ago: Russian Black Bread and Ranch Rugelach
Three years ago: Brownie Roll Out Cookies and Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
Four years ago: Chicken Empanada with Chorizo and Olives and Barley, Corn and Haricot Vert Salad

Ribbony Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
Inspired by the Union Square Cafe

This is such a fun way to celebrate the first asparagus of the season you bring home. And yes, I just reread that sentence and am fully aware that the concept of “celebrating asparagus” would have made me roll my eyes a few years ago, like maybe I’d been burning too much patchouli. But when you start trying to eat along with the seasons, you realize how long the winter is on the East Coast and begin to eagerly anticipate the day in spring when the first green things pop from the ground. Round here, that’s asparagus. And when it is as fresh as you can get it now, there’s no reason to cook it, not when you can turn it into a pile of ribbons and twist them around like spaghetti on your fork.

There are no exact measurements in this recipe. Everything is to taste, so taste as you go along to make sure you’re getting all the Parmesan, nutty, and lemony flavors you want.

1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds, toasted* and cooled
1 pound asparagus, rinsed
1 lemon, halved
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese

No need to snap off the tough ends of your asparagus. Lay a single stalk on its side on a cutting board. Holding onto the tough end, use a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler is easiest, but I’ve used a standard one successfully) to shave off thin asparagus ribbons from stalk to tip, peeling away from the tough end in your hand. [Updated] Discard the tough ends once you’re done peeling. Gently pile your ribbons on a medium-sized serving platter. Squeeze some lemon juice over the asparagus, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Toss gently and then use your peeler to shave curls of Parmesan right off the block, over the asparagus. Sprinkle with some toasted nuts. Repeat with remaining asparagus, a third of the remaining bundle at a time. Eat immediately.

* I toast mine in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes. It’s really important, especially with pine nuts, that you stay close and toss them frequently because they love to burn, but if you move them around a bit, you can get a wonderful, even coffee coffee color on them and an intensely nutty flavor. It makes even unfancy nuts taste amazing.

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245 comments on ribboned asparagus salad with lemon

  1. Great timing…just enjoyed an asparagus quiche yesterday for brunch and was thinking that I need to experiment more with asparagus. This looks healthy and love the addition of the cheese. I wonder if manchego cheese would taste good too?

  2. Martha

    At church recently they asked people for their favorite signs of spring – most people said crocuses, or robins, but I said asparagus! I will have to do this – I loved the pizza last year.

  3. I love asparagus, but my husband does not (he’s mostly ambivalent). The last time I made asparagus, I also made my first hollandaise sauce to drizzle on it. I think that made him happy, but this would make me much happier.

    So, how much asparagus is reasonable for me to eat anyway?

  4. dolores dewbury

    I cannot tell from the photo and you did not mention in your recipe – what do you do with the tips?

    Can’t wait to try this.


  5. Killian

    My partner despises asparagus, but the three kids and I love it. I will definitely be making this one this spring! And really…that pizza looks amazing too. I bet it would be a hit at my son’s HS graduation party! Hmmmm.

    Thank you, Deb. I’m always entranced by new ways to use the same old veggies, even when I do love them.

  6. I love the long ribbons of asparagus. nice touch. Thank goodness for Spring, fresh fruit and the promise of some extremely wonderful salads all season.

  7. Oh, definitely. Seeing as I’ve been going through a bunch of asparagus every 48 hours or so since they’ve reappeared at the greenmarket, this is just perfect!

  8. Magdalena

    All right, I am making this for dinner tonight with the second half of the asparagus I got from my friend (made the shaved asparagus pizza for dinner last night and and totally and completely hooked on shaving asparagus now!).

  9. mmm! I’ve had a similar salad, but with shredded brussels sprouts, dijon, and walnuts in place of the pine nuts. Also, “ramps”: I keep seeing/hearing more and more people call leeks that, but hadn’t heard the term until last fall.

    1. deb

      Jessica — Ramps are wild leeks that grow in early spring. They look nothing like leeks, though, and taste different too.

      Dolores — You peel the asparagus from the root to the tips, so they get ribboned as well.

  10. Yesterday I almost succumbed to asparagus from California when shopping. The wait for our first spring asparagus is much longer in Vermont and this spring it is painfully long. Now I have one more dish waiting for the first happy asparagus haul.


  11. And I was just sitting here at my desk thinking about a raw asparagus salad. I’ve yet to celebrate this sure sign of spring, but clearly my daydreams and this blog post must mean it’s time!

  12. Yum. This is the third shaved asparagus dish I’ve seen recently. Clearly I need to get on the boat as this sounds amazing and I don’t know that I’ve ever had asparagus raw so I’d be curious to see how much I enjoyed it compared to my more typical cooking method of roasting. Thanks Deb. And no pressure on the cookbook, I know that whenever it comes out, I’ll enjoy it.

  13. BRAVO!! A new asparagus recipe, just in time. I love the idea of shaving it into ribbons. And I’ve never had it with pinenuts (one of my fav’s)
    Yum! I’m going to try it this week. Thanks!

  14. We are trying to eat more raw food around here — this will be perfect to try with some of the just-picked lemons a thoughtful (anonymous) neighbor left on our doorstep yesterday. Yum!

  15. Long time reader, first time commenter. I’ve never considered peeling asparagus before, but seeing this presentation makes me want to try it. This looks and sounds great! Your directions say “start and the tough end”, which makes sense (that’s why you don’t have to break it off). But your picture shows the opposite, I think.
    Do I misunderstand?


    1. deb

      Jim — It does! You should do as I say, not as I do. :) I think I turned that piece around in an attempt to get a better photo. It really works better stem to tip because then you can a) avoid the tough end without having to arbitrarily snap it off/have nothing to hold onto and b) it will nicely shave the tip into thin ribbons if you start from the stem. Otherwise, it is difficult.

  16. I’ve been feasting on asparagus for the last three weeks but I rarely eat it raw, I’ll be giving this a go with my next bundle. Thanks Deb!

  17. Angela

    Celebrating asparagus is entirely appropriate and should be encouraged. Burning patchouli, however, should be a felony.

  18. Amy Kane Coyne

    Wow– I am making this tonight– Raw? I never would have tried–I am tried & true lover of roasted/ grilled asparagus–but w/ same elements–olive oil-lemon–maybe garlic…(and pinenuts–perfect!)

  19. Deb! I’m a long-time reader but a rare commenter, but you are so much on my wavelength here that I had to say something. I just made a shaved asparagus salad like this last week—with pecorino and lemon. It disappeared too quickly for me to photograph it though. Great minds…

  20. Marbarre`

    And by the way, the shaved asparagus pizza was amazing as well. I made it for a luncheon last year and it was devoured….if anyone out there who is intrigued by this concept of a salad has not tried it….do so immediately. In fact, I am taking inspiration from that pizza and adding either a little truffle oil or truffle salt to this salad.

  21. Oh–and I’ve heard this technique works well for other veggies we might not normally consider eating raw, too, like summer squashes.

  22. this is a wonderful idea. how i wish i could pick asparagus from the back yard like i could when i was a kid. it’s so good when it’s fresh.

  23. I’ve been seeing versions of this shaved asparagus salad on the blogosphere for weeks now. But this version I think has hit the home-run with parmesan and pinenuts. Classic flavours should really highlight the raw flavour of the veg. I’m just aching to try it the next time fresh asparagus presents itself!

  24. I also want a Charlie. I saw one the other day at our animal shelter. Who could give up such a sweet doggie?
    I have plenty of fresh green asparagus in the fridge. This recipe is bookmarked. Thank you so much.
    Oh, aren’t those bibs the best? I threw all the others out and bought plenty of them when my kids were younger. They are priceless.

  25. I made a gorgeous salad yesterday from fresh Jersey asparagus from my garden. I shaved it with a vegetable peeler, just like you did, and served it with a mint & lime dressing w/ avocado on the side! So fantastic! Who ever thought of eating raw asparagus? When you pick it fresh, there is nothing like it!

  26. Asparagus just sings spring, doesn’t it? I like to eat it raw, I will store a bundle in my refrigerator in a jar of water and grab a spear and eat. To me it tastes like fresh picked peas.


  27. jenny

    mmm. this reminds me of the raw, shaved asparagus salad at co.–but I believe his has some lime/mint thing going on. either way, any shaved asparagus salad sounds good right now. like you, I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed by the long-awaited appearance of the green things.

  28. Amanda

    Yum! I read about this recipe in this month’s Bon Appetit and have been wanting to try it out ever since. The pine nuts are such a perfect addition. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. deb

      Bon Appetit — How funny! I just found it online and it’s almost exactly the same. I wonder if they were inspired by Union Square Cafe’s menu last spring too!

  29. So uncanny. I’ve admired your blog for sometime, but this is just too strange for words. I too posted this morning about a shaved asparagus salad (mine with fennel and feta) and spring time. I look forward to trying your version!

  30. Jen

    giada de laurentis has a similar recipe, but she also includes shaved zucchini. i often make them together or separate – the zucchini is really light and delicious. the whole shebang is also awesome over some arugula!

  31. Susan L.

    Deb, I had this last year and it was fantastic! Just FYI, they make a very similar salad with sugar snap peas (usually from Miglorelli’s stand) later in the season, and it is not to be missed.)

  32. meg

    For some reason, everything seems more elegant and delicious when it’s sliced thinner than thin. The texture changes, the flavor becomes more vivid, and the visual effect is stunning. I love making salads with shaved cucumber or zucchini. They don’t need much in the way of dressing to set them off.

  33. I am currently waiting for my Fresh Direct order to arrive – in it is a nice fresh bunch of local asparagus just begging to be turned into this salad. Yum!

  34. Thanks for setting me straight about ramps, Deb! A commenter told me last fall that they call leeks “ramps” in West Virginia, so I just assumed they were the same without looking into it. Now I’ll have to see if I can find some…

  35. Mira

    Hi Deb! My boyfriend LOVES asparagus, so it looks like I better be making this for him soon!

    Also, Jezebel just “featured” Ree today! I was excited, until I saw the ungodly amount of snark (ha, don’t know what else I expected) about her blog in the comments (apparently some people get annoyed at having awesome photos with pictures. Either way, I love reading you both!

  36. I have been seeing a lot about raw shaved asparagus lately, but this is the first recipe that makes me think it might be a good idea. It helps that I have a couple handfuls of pinenuts floating around, too. Thanks!

  37. I just bought 2 bunches of asparagus and was prepared to roast both bunches, until now! I am glad I read your blog before preparing dinner. I love this time of year!

    1. deb

      Caitlin — I have an OXO Y-Peeler. I bought it after using one of their standard peelers last year to make asparagus ribbons. Both work, but the Y definitely works better. In fact, I think in the last year, I’ve ended up using it for most things and now the standard peeler is somewhere in the bottom of the havoc that is my gadget drawer.

  38. This looks so good!! I love asparagus season — we have some farms around us and get fresh asparagus for the entire month of June. Mmmmmm….it won’t be long now!! I love everything about this and I can’t wait to try it!!

  39. Emma

    Surely everyone celebrates asparagus season? I’ve just come back from the shops clutching my first bundle of British asparagus and can’t wait to try this recipe.

  40. I worked last night and slept today and needed something easy and light for dinner. Enter Deb and her amazing timing! Thankfully, I happened to have everything I needed to make this. It was delicious! So light and healthy. Thanks, Deb!

  41. Jilly

    The shaved asparagus pizza was on heavy rotation at my house last spring. This salad looks like a winner too.

  42. What a beautifully fresh way to present asparagus…my fave flavor of Spring. Lovely write-up with so many reminders that this season is about new beginnings and “having a pep in our steps”! ;)

  43. Deb-
    I would put money down to know where/how you found asparagus at the greenmarket! I was at the union square market on Friday looking all around for asparagus, I assumed the season started but couldn’t find any!
    Instead I left with ramps, fiddlehead ferns, green garlic and stinging nettles. I was very happy about my buys but I still have that unclaimed-first-of-the-season asparagus stuck in my head…

    1. deb

      dania — Phillips Farms, last Wednesday. I love their asparagus, and them! It was their first day out, they said, because stuff had just started coming in. P.S. Wednesday is, by miles, my favorite day at the market. Friday always looks bleak, Saturday is just impossible and Monday can be too quiet and picked-over.

  44. I actually thought of you while shopping at the greenmarket on Saturday. Weird a little, since I don’t know you! But I saw colorful produce and thought to myself, I bet Deb is just going to jump with JOY when she see’s all this new stuff here! Glad to see you saw for yourself, and as always, Thank you for all your amazing ideas!

  45. Mira, I haven’t seen the Jezebel article or the snark going on there but when I found out that Ree was getting a cooking show when her recipes regularly include cooking sherry and lemon pepper I lost respect.

    I have no idea what is going on there but seriously??? cooking show with cooking sherry? I thought the common element was fully covered on the foodnetwork.

  46. I’m not much of one to celebrate asparagus…but as usual your photographs are beautiful and enticing and the combination of ingredients make it sound perfect so I’m game & will give it a go! thanks for opening my mind & taste buds :)

  47. Danielle

    I made this for dinner tonight! I don’t have a very good peeler so it looked a little rough, but it was delicious! I swapped cherry tomatoes for the nuts. It totally captures spring. Thanks for posting this!

  48. Deb, you win again. Tonight, I made this dish and was grumbling the whole time that I was peeling the asparagus. Does she _know_ how hard it is to peel asparagus? Does she _know_ how much 1lb is?? There is no way that this can be worth all of the effort!

    But I ate my words (YUM!) at the first bite of this salad. Deb – THANK YOU! You did it again. Boy, oh boy, was it worth it! I will never doubt you again :)

  49. Yasmine

    I was just thinking about spring myself! I’ve been thinking about a salad that I made a long time ago using the same technique with the peeler. I’ve used zucchini and yellow squash instead, dressed it with lemon and olive oil and sprinkled some goat cheese. I will add some chopped mint next time though. yours looks beautiful can’t wait to go to the farmer’s market!

  50. Chris

    Can’t wait to try this one…all my favorite ingredients! I needed something else to create with the abundance of gorgeous asparagus at the markets. As always, mahalo for the beautiful photos. My BFF in Aix also follows your posts – it’s nice knowing we share/enjoy your recipes despite all the miles between us.

  51. Erin Smith

    I LOVE THIS! I make the shaved asparagus pizza when we have company over for dinner, and I had yet to make an asparagus salad, but thank you again for your wonderful culinary wisdom!

  52. Woow, I never considered raw asparagus as an option.. Here in Holland we do see the green asparagus (mostly the tips) but far more often the white ones. I recently cooked the white ones ‘the traditional way’ with some hollandaise sauce, a soft boiled egg and some prosciutto. Do you think you can eat the white ones raw too? Not that I’m afraid to ask my greengrocer to find me a green bundle.. It really looks delicious, and it seems so easy.. I’m convinced!
    (About everyone enjoying spring, and you feeling like you can’t, I have major major major important exams in two weeks so I don’t have much of an outside life too, if that makes you feel better!)

  53. jen

    I made this exact salad (minus the pinenuts) as a starter for Easter. But unlike your gorgeous tangle of ribbons this was woven using 10 strips into a pretty little presentation. (Idea and photos from April 5,2010 foodmayhem post (not my website)). I can’t wait to try it again as an everyday salad with the pinenuts.

  54. Beth

    Fresh and fabulous spring entertaining menu item, thanks! Your recipe says to “serve immediately,” so now I’m wondering how the raw asparagus responds to sitting in the dressing for a bit – would it pickle an soften slightly, making it delicious in a different way?

  55. EDZ

    Looks yummy! But I always thought asparagus should be cooked first……
    If this i the case I will use white as well as green asparagus to make this salad.

  56. I love raw asparagus but never really thought of putting it in a salad before – I always gobble it down too quickly. I also love the flavour combination with lemon, pinenuts and parmesan. Yum! Can’t wait to make this – and it totally justifies purchasing a y-shaped peeler! Thanks!

  57. I recently made a pesto and raw asparagus ribbon pasta and fell in love. It is such a quick way to consume this vegetable and definitely a long call from the grey green mush people used to make and cal asparagus

  58. Always love it when the new season of Asparagus starts on 1st May. British asparagus is the king of all vegetables.

    I only tried asparagus raw the other day, when I was putting it into risotto – and the flavour was great. I was thinking a creating a salad with it – this sounds ideal!

  59. I love this idea. Last year while visiting my son in Chicago we went to the farmers market and bought some purple asparagus. Now I’m wanting to find some here in Texas and try purple, green and white in your salad. Yum.

  60. i love asparagus like life itself, but have never been able to wrap my head around it, raw.

    but suddenly, i’m thinking it’s just like my beloved shaved fennel and mushrooms? dressed up for spring? hmmmm…. maybe time to re-consider…

  61. Kara

    Deb, I want to make enough of this to take to lunch tomorrow too. Will it keep another half day in the fridge?

  62. Moriah T.

    Does this keep well for any amount of time after “eat immediately”? As in, could I make this in the morning for an afternoon party? I can’t imagine there were leftovers for you to see how well it held up!

  63. Jillian

    Absolutely delicious! I used a standard peeler and it was a bit of a pain, the last ‘ribbon’ was a bit on thick side because there’s an edge on my peeler that wouldn’t sit flush with the cutting board, may be a sign a need a v peeler. I skipped the pine nuts because my boyfriend is allergic, but I thought it tasted great without it. I also thought that an entire pound of asparagus seemed unnecessary, so I started with less, but as soon as I tasted everything I immediately shaved the rest of the asparagus. Deb, I will not doubt your infinite knowledge again :)

    1. deb

      Jillian — When that happens, I just move everything to the edge of the cutting board, so that peeler lip hangs off the front of the board and you can get the peeler blade closer to the vegetable. Hope that makes sense.

  64. I love this recipes! It’s beautiful, incredibly delicious looking and super healthy! My husband and I have been taking weekly day trips into Brooklyn. I am in love with the farmers markets, street carts, mom & pop shops that all house an eclectic array of international cuisine and fresh foods. I’m so looking forward to your cookbook and all the wonderful recipes I will get turned onto!

  65. Zeidy

    Great !!!! I loooove asparagus and I was wondering what to do with them now that my daughter likes eating new things !! Thanks!

  66. This salad looks so special. With Mother’s Day on Sunday, this might end up being my salad course. Love the idea of raw asaparagus and fresh lemon juice! Can’t wait to make it on Sunday!

  67. I want to try this, like, right this minute (it’s 8:30 am in San Francisco, and even for asparagus fans it might be a little early in the day) but I’m wondering: my entire family is allergic to nuts, as in turns-blue-and-dies allergic. But I think the crunch of something would be wonderful. Any suggestions as to a swap in? (They’re not allergic to peanuts which, as my three year old reminded her preschool teacher, are legumes, but I suspect peanuts would be too strongly flavored for this salad.)

  68. Momcat

    I can’t wait to try this. I’m already thinking what a great side this would be with the last of the Easter ham! I have always had to buy more asparagus than I needed because I always eat some raw while preparing it. Thanks for this idea for eating raw asparagus in public!

  69. I opened my RSS feed to see this amazing salad this morning, and thought that you surely had made a riff on Jonathan Waxman’s recipe that was featured in NYMag yesterday ( how uncanny! i love that you made this as I thought his sounded so appealing, but just a bit too plain – I love asparagus, but raw I think it would need a bit more dimension. Yours looks perfecto!

    ps I live right near the Abingdon Square Greenmarket, and even though its just a lil pipsqueek of a market (only open on Saturdays and maybe 15 – 20 vendors) I would highly recommend a gander on the Saturdays that you are avoiding the union square one….I cant handle Saturdays there either!!

    1. deb

      Cory — So funny w/Jonthan Waxman! Between that and Bon Appetit’s version this month, this is totally The Salad of Spring 2011.

      I used to go to the Abington market when I lived in Chelsea, but I remember complaining in those lazy, lazy days when I could go out late and sleep in that it was only open until 2 (and they’d be packing up at 1:30). I was barely getting my coffee by 2 p.m. I am now rolling my eyes at my earlier self.

  70. This looks awesome, but with almonds instead of pine nuts.

    I just wanted to say that you are NOT odd for celebrating asparagus, because I squeal with delight when I spy the first ears of local sweet corn in the farmers’ markets (or in pickup trucks on the side of the road), and plan several meals around it. Great stuff!

  71. Lots of shaved asparagus floating around the web recently. I have held off for one reason or another but I think tonight is the night to change that. I love the addition of pine nuts in this. It looks beautiful!

  72. El Rose

    i think the pine nuts get nice and toasted in a dry frying pan. Less chance of burn. It’s also easier to watch them.

  73. I had to assure my husband just yesterday that yes, it is okay to give our 14-month-old son an asparagus stalk straight from the garden. He (the husband, that is, not the son–the son was ALL ABOUT IT) is not convinced raw asparagus isn’t poisonous. He needs some horizon broadening. This salad might be just the thing for that . . .

  74. I’ve never tried ribbons of asparagus before… but I made this tonight for my boyfriend and myself. It was a big success! Super easy to do, light and flavorful. I will definitely bookmark this recipe!

  75. Erin E

    This is delicious!! I’m so glad today was grocery day for me, because I don’t know if I could have waited another minute to eat this yummy goodness! I added some goat cheese crumbles, too. It is to die for. Can I eat it for every meal this week?

    Deb, your website has changed my life… or at least my cooking habits!

  76. Rabekah

    This is fantastic! I love using my overly priced cheese slicer for things other than cheese, so thank you for the inspiration. I had all the ingredients other than lemon, so I used a half a lime instead and it was delicious. Thanks again!!!

  77. Ooh, what a great idea! This looks so clean and pleasing. I will have to give it a go….sounds so bright and fresh! Man, I am so glad it’s finally asparagus season….

  78. Holy moley, this was fantastic!! I had never even heard of eating asparagus raw, but had some in the fridge so I went for it. I put chopped grape tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and juice from 1/2 lime on top because I didn’t have the other ingredients — but I think it’s my new favorite salad now. And then I promptly posted about it on Facebook, emailed my mom and sister, and told both my classes that they had to make it RIGHT NOW. So delicious — thank you for posting!!

  79. Marcia

    On Saturday I got the first asparagus pickings from both Sang Lee Farms and Wickhams..both on the North Fork. Amazing to eat them within hours of harvest. Roasted and Risotto-ed..salad next.Hope you’ll get back there soon.

  80. elyse

    i’ve been waiting to make the shaved asparagus pizza since i first saw your recipe last fall. didn’t want to make pizza dough last night, so instead i took inspiration from this salad and added the shaved asparagus to spaghetti (the long strands of both looked great together) and tossed it with a “clean out the fridge” spinach/parsley/mint/walnut pesto and some cubed mozzarella. We’re out of Parmesan cheese, as soon as we buy some more, I’ll for sure be making this salad exactly as is!

  81. Lauren

    We are a bit lucky here in CA with the vegetables and have had asparagus a few times already in our CSA box. I found your pizza version of this a couple weeks ago when we got a bunch. Still, I am pretty fed up with bok choy, which, while green, has become a nuisance. I saved some of this week’s asparagus for the pizza version again, but I’m tempted to borrow a few stalks for this salad as a preview. Beautiful!

  82. That looks seriously yummy …. now if only I could find some good fresh asparagus up here in the land of “we’re never going to have spring” calgary!!!

  83. I have never had raw aspargus! Here in Brazil they’re a bit expensive but when it Aspargus season it is totally worth it!
    By the way … ages ago ou wrote something about “pao de Queijo” the brazilian cheese bread (or was somebodyelse?) I posted something about it and a recipe. Hope you have time to check it out ;)

  84. I made this yesterday night. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I used a little too much olive oil and lemon juice, but it was still super duper fresh and delicious! I’ll be making it again tonight — and being a little less heavy handed with the citrus and oil this time, haha! I absolutely recommend this!

  85. Also Nina, these don’t need to be cooked! They are perfection raw and ribboned. I was apprehensive at first as well about the whole no cooking thing, but it works!

  86. e

    This looks like a good way to use the thicker asparagus. We love the skinny ones, but can’t always get them and sometimes you just crave asparagus. I’m trying it!

  87. I am not really a recipe person as my latest post proves! But this one gives me some great ideas. Fresh, local asparagus season is just starting here. We will be eating ponds of it in the coming weeks. Thanks!

  88. How do you avoid the “stalky” bottoms? Does peeling the asparagus break it down?
    During the spring I could eat asparagus at every meal. My favorite way to prepare it is grilling or broiling. I dislike the watery taste when steamed. Therefore I think I would love it raw. What a concept!

  89. Caitlin’s Mom

    Yesterday was our first harvest from the asparagus patch. I was so excited, and even more excited to see this recipe-so simple and healthy, yet a wonderful combination of flavors. I made it last night for some company and it was hit! Absolutely delicious! Thanks for slaving away in your tiny kitchen and posting great recipes. I love the site!

  90. Great photos and such a simple way to cook asparagus!
    We’ve just returned from our Easter holiday and we had so many delicious asparagus dishes! the greatest was the wild asparagus omelette that we immediately cooked ourselves. It was the first time I had wild asparagus and I like its bitterish flavor so much.

  91. Katy

    Made this last night for dinner with a loaf of crusty bread on the side. Substituted toasted chopped hazelnuts in place of the pine nuts. Wonderful. I was totally surprised by how tender the raw asparagus ended up being, and the depth of “asparagusy” flavor was great, too. I think next time, I might use a vinagarette instead of the lemon. While is was fresh and bright, I wanted a punchier acidity to it. I think it will work beautifully that way, too!

  92. Robin M

    So, I made this yesterday for lunch and while it tasted Ah-mazing, I had one heck of a time peeling the asparagus. Maybe because I was using a standard peeler instead of a Y-peeler? Maybe because they were on the slender side? Any tips on making peeling a little easier?

  93. This is so pretty! I’ve never thought about eating asparagus raw, or about peeling it into ribbons either. But I am very familiar with the asparagus/lemon/parmesan combo, of which I highly approve (especially roasted, yum).

  94. Beth

    Hi Deb,

    I’m another long time reader, first time commenter! I actually had the same issue as Jillian; it felt like I was only getting half of each stalk peeled before it wouldn’t peel anymore. I have a y-shaped peeler, it just unfortunately has a potato spot remover (who says you need everything on every single kitchen implement? It looks like Inspector Gadget…). When I tried holding it over the edge of the counter, I ended up peeling the cutting board…any suggestions, or should I just invest in a non-gadgety peeler? Thanks! Also, despite my troubles, this was the best asparagus recipe I’ve ever tasted!

    1. deb

      Beth — Use a cutting board that won’t peel! I had the same problem with a plasticky one. I eventually figured out how to use enough pressure to peel the asparagus, but not the board. The next time, I just used the counter with out a board. Hopefully, the counter won’t peel too!

      Virtually Homemade — You hold onto the tough ends and peel away from them. They get left behind. I should clarify this in the recipe, huh?

      Marcia — Can you FEEL my envy through the computer? I cannot wait to go back. I think we should just move out there, how about you? (I’m campaigning this occasionally to my husband.)

  95. I just made this for dinner tonight – it was far too hot to cook anything and this looked wonderful. It was so yummy!! My hubby even liked it! :) It’s so light and fresh tasting. Great job! :)

  96. Lynette

    I made this salad today and it was well worth any, um… “asparagus side effects.” I used roasted slivered almonds instead of pine nuts. Don’t skip the roasted nuts as they are the perfect complement to the asparagus and lemon.

  97. Lynette

    p.s. Regarding the asparagus peeling problems… I have a cheap-o peeler and just shaved as much as I could and then chopped up the remainder and it worked out perfectly.

  98. Leah

    I am so excited for more fresh veggie ideas from you, Deb! I love all your carb-heavy recipes, but the veggie and fruit recipes are more inspiring to me because they are harder for me to come up with on my own. Please keep posting them!

  99. Yuck! My kids spat this out (and they are 7 ok,understandable,14,19and 21) Tried this as love your site and make lots of your dishes but this just didn’t work in my opinion.Maybe with zucchini…but asparagus was just too…raw….won’t make again. heavenly choc cake i’ve already made twice though!

  100. Misha

    Amazing, thank you!!! I am in CA and have been getting asparagus for a few weeks in my CSA box. I had about 1/3 portion of this for lunch and will probably be having a smaller one with dinner, too. I also had a sliced boiled egg alongside and it was perfect and filling. I had issues with the last bit of each stalk being hard to peel, but since it was just for me I embraced the situation and left some thicker. They were still super yummy!

    I think I’ll be trying the pizza next. Yum!

  101. I made this a few nights ago, with almonds instead of pine nuts, and everybody raved about it. I was surprised at how mild the asparagus were. This one is a keeper

  102. Ann

    I brought this to a dinner party last night and it was an absolute hit with everyone! I didn’t have pine nuts on hand so instead I chopped and toasted pistachio nuts. Worked just as well. The peeling part was a challenge, and I think a Y-shaped peeler would’ve made it easier. When I used a regular peeler my hand kept knocking against the counter top.

  103. Made this as a side dish tonight. I’m guessing it’s meant to serve 4, but my husband and I ate every last bite. The only change I made was using pecorino toscano instead of the parm. Got the idea from a fava bean salad we used to get every spring at Locanda Vini e Olii in Brooklyn. Thanks for the recipe, it’s going into heavy rotation at our house. Just like the asparagus pizza from last year.

  104. Chris of Stumptown

    I wonder whether a mandoline could work for the peeling? Or too hard to keep the asparagus from flopping around?

    It looks great but so labor intensive with a peeler.

    1. deb

      Chris — I find it much much easier with a peeler. But no reason not to use a mandoline if you think it might be easier to pull off.

  105. Paul

    Tried this and loved it. Guests did too. Shaving the asparagus was not easy though. Last few strokes were impossibe and wasted a lot as a result of breakage. Overall a hit however!

  106. Alison

    Made this for Mother’s Day today and it was a hit. Shaving the asparagus was a bit of a pain, but I figured out how to hang the peeler off the cutting board like you described. Besides the peeling, super easy, and super super delicious, so I’ll definitely be making this again before the end of spring.

  107. Gina

    I made this for Mother’s Day dinner tonight. It was so unique. None of us had ever had raw asparagus before. Thanks for a fun and healthy recipe that I’ll be making many more times!

  108. Thanks for sharing! My husband is an organic farmer here in California and I’ve been looking for different things to do with all of the asparagus we have this year. I made this with dinner tonight and it was so delicious!

  109. Sorry – question! Do you blanch the asparagus first or is it entirely uncooked? I just can’t imagine eating uncooked asparagus, but I’ll try anything once! : )

  110. eleonard

    That was way tastier than I thought it was going to be. And I thought it was going to be tasty. I used walnuts bc that’s what I had on hand and fresh tarragon. I’m obsessed with fresh tarragon; it’s been going in all my salads this Spring.

  111. Savanah

    Just tried this with my first bunch of asparagus of the year (also from the Greenmarket!) and it was delicious. I ate half of it by myself — guilt free! Thank you for a unique yet simple salad :)

  112. judi bates

    I made this recipe and tookit to a birthdy party with people who are used to eating “plain food”. They loved it…You must try this and don’t spare the salt…Makes all the difference!!!

  113. just had this for dinner- I added ground ginger and used a ton of Gruyère and toasted almond slivers. it was divine. Didn’t use much salt, but added more lemon and pepper. I will never eat cooked asparagus again!

  114. Deb-Yes, yes, yes! We lived in that neighborhood when the restaurant opened and ate there entirely more than we could afford. A lovely couple owns it (him out front, her in the kitchen) and I still dream about the Ugly but Good cookies and the tagliatelle with braised rabbit.
    Can’t wait for your cookbook to come out. I’ll be one of the folks pre-ordering it!

  115. I’ve had this recipe on the brain since I saw it when you first posted, and I finally got to make it tonight. It was GREAT! Definitely my new favorite way to eat asparagus. I used dry roasted almonds instead of the pine nuts. So yummy. I almost thought I would have a serving left to eat tomorrow for lunch, but my boyfriend has remained at the table finishing off the dish

  116. Brandi B

    I made this recipe for Mother’s Day and it was a HUGE success! Most were wary of raw asparagus but every single person went back for a second scoop and cleared the dish. What was most interesting was how subtle the asparagus flavor was in the raw form – my Dad (the most wary of all when he saw me making it :) compared the flavor of the asparagus to mild beans. Thanks for a great recipe that I know will be a summer staple for all of us!

  117. Jen

    I’ll have to resist roasting the next bunch of asparagus I buy. I love the look of the crazy, tangled asparagus ribbons. They look like they went through a paper shredder! Thanks for the inspiration.

  118. Connie

    I have tried this 2x so far, both with fantastic results. The first time I made it on mothers day. The only mod was adding a little honey to the olive oil/lemon mixture. The 2nd time I made it, I added fresh sliced strawberries – and wow! that was amazing. I can’t believe how much my husband (the king of fried food) loves this salad. Thanks for sharing!

  119. I had something similar to this about a year ago at Olives, except it was called “Zucchini Carpaccio” (or something like that…). It was a plate of paper-thin zucchini heavily dressed with lemon, olive oil, grated parmesan and just the tiniest hint of shallot. I’ve been meaning to recreate it ever since. Before we get into the months of summer squash excess, though, I may have to give its asparagus cousin a try. :)

  120. Ari Brown

    I have made this several times since you posted the recipe and I’ve passed it along to everyone and anyone who will listen. Such a short season for asparagus so I’m trying to get as much in as possible. And the best part about this recipe- my toddler loves it!! She devours it! I think it’s because, well, I’m lucky to have a kid who loves veggies, and she treats it like pasta so it’s fun to eat. Thanks again for a delicious recipe.

  121. Jennifer

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I made it today and it was delicious. I would simply add that dressing the salad in advance seems to soften the asparagus (sort of like a cerviche ‘cooks’ raw fish). I tasted it when I first made it and it was much improved an hour later when I served it.

  122. Stacey

    We’ve enjoyed this twice so far. The first time as a salad, as written. The second time as a pasta, adding ribbons of thinly sliced prosciutto and fresh lemon-thyme papparadelle. Delicious!

  123. John Andrich

    It looks like I am 207. No wonder, this combination really works. I have had shaved raw artichokes bottoms on a salad. I have prepared this salad twice, the second time for my TASTERS group and added some toasted shallots atop. All reactions are much the same as your readers, “can’t believe how good raw asparagus tastes” Love your site. Thanks.

  124. Hi Deb. I tried your recipe yesterday and it was delicious. I’d never thought to have tried raw asparagus before and I have to saw I really like it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  125. Liz

    This was awesome. I wandered into Whole Foods today and they had asparagus and lemon both on sale, next to each other. I took it as a sign and made this for myself for dinner. So amazingly good and the pine nuts just clinched it.

  126. foodisgood

    I make raw or grilled asparagus marinated in rice vinegar, sesame seeds, safflower/peanut oil, soy sauce, and freshly ground pepper. Never though of ribbons though. Excited to try!

  127. I made this last night and was surprised how delicious it turned out! My dad didn’t even realize it was raw. What a great way to enjoy veggies without cooking out all of the nutrients. So light and fresh, will be making again soon!

  128. Zocher

    Time and again, in stores and supermarkets the bags checked in error, without any permission. The retail sector is not to come not in the privacy of the customer to intervene. The facts are twisted by them because the customer is usually these same groups have delivered anyway, this is part of an unfair trade, poverty exploits here in Europe only helps wealthy. The shops have already been monitored with cameras, so an additional check of the bag unnecessary. Too bad that they no longer have confidence to customers, and some people they are unjustly attacked.

    Other tricks:
    In the shop a lower price of them is even signposted as as an alleged special offer. At the checkout, but will often try to settle the original price. Behind a long queue, so of course it is difficult to address this at all, or you have no time and is in a hurry. Better is always one has the matching amount, because otherwise it’s not you. Goods must be examined even after, otherwise what is missing. Product is already partly to go to seed.

  129. Leah Magid

    I visited your site for the first time in months yesterday at about 5:00, looking for something spectacular to go with dinner. I had purchased Purple Haze Asparagus the other day and was thinking what a shame it would be to bake it into a quiche or even to steam it. I was so happy to find this recipe!

    By 5:45, my daughter had declared “hey…this is asparagus…I hate asparagus” as she ate the last bite on her plate. My husband and I loved it too. Delicious and worth a repeat! Thank you so much.

  130. Amy

    This is the first year that my asparagus patch is really producing, so I am on the lookout for lots of wonderful ways to eat it. I made a salad similar to this one for dinner tonight and it was SO good. I’m thrilled that I have 2 big Mason jars in the fridge full of asparagus and tons more ready to pick!

  131. Chris

    Hi. Am from the UK – had this at Union Square Cafe a year ago when stranded by volcano – loved it. Asparagus season now here, found this recipe and tried to make this evening. Problem was my (British) potato peelers will only do half a spear and then give up – cuts too thin also. I have three and none of them was satisfactory. My Chinese equivalent was better but best was a bean slicer – where you push through from the top. But slices were thicker than they should be.

    But you seem to be happiest with a “v slicer”? – don’t know what that is. Can someone put up a picture?


  132. I’m about to make this now, but I love what you said about celebrating asparagus! In Berlin, there’s an annual asparagus festival- I think it’s in June- and all of the malls have little models of white and green asparagus and stalls sell it everywhere. I even have a special asparagus peeler that I got free during the “spargel fest” one summer!

  133. Robyn

    Just made this as a side for dinner. Very tasty, and healthy to boot. I’ll be adding more Parm in the future though. I found that the flavor of the Parm just got lost in the asparagus.

  134. Chris

    Thanks Deb! Just ordered one from Amazon and will try it out very shortly no doubt. Much appreciate the speedy response.

  135. When I was a teen my chiropractor had me eat raw asparagus to help build my immune system. I was never fond of the taste but this looks delicious. I will have to try this very soon.

  136. Laura

    Made this as a side for dinner tonight without the nuts (turns out we were out of almonds!) and it was fabulous! I’m not usually a fan of raw veggies, but the raw asparagus in this salad really emphasizes everything that is good about cooked asparagus but makes it fresher.

    Also, I tried both a regular peeler and a Y-peeler while making this salad, and the Y-peeler was much smoother.

  137. Libby

    It looked so pretty when I made it and all my guests were impressed! Unfortunately, it was a little bitter and not as fun to eat. Was that the fault of my asparagus or of me?

  138. Aidan

    I was skeptical of this recipe because of the simplicity but was pleasantly surprised by how dynamic it is. It was a huge hit! I roasted sliced almonds instead of pinenuts and served it with a broccoli and cheese omelet. It was wonderful!

  139. Hendrik

    A non-nut crunchy substitute would be croutons. Dice white or wholewheat bread slices and roast in olive oil over medium heat. Personally I’d add garlic – goes well with the Parmigiano – either a whole clove to aromatize the oil (discarded afterwards) or you toss the bread dice with minced garlic.

    A non-nut but also non-crunchy addition which again plays well with the cheese is tomato – as mentioned by another commentator. Either you just add cherry tomatos in halves or quarters or you prepare a concasse (peel, remove seeds and membranes, chop).

  140. Jen K

    I made this dish straight-up and love it. For my second go-round, I was inspired to mash it together with a celery ceviche dish I love from Pura Vida (my favorite Atlanta restaurant). The final product was ribboned white asparagus, ribboned celery, julienned serrano, lime, enoki mushrooms, and pecorino.

    The only extra step is that you need to drain the celery a bit after ribboning. And I think that incarnation would still like to have some pine nuts.

  141. Jennie B

    I just made this with low expectations, expecting it to taste boring. Man was I wrong! Sooooo surprisingly delicious, much better than the regular salad I eat every day. Thanks again for such a great idea!

  142. C

    I tried this over the summer when I had easier access to a nearby farmer’s market. As a rule, I don’t like salads, BUT THIS IS DELICIOUS. It tastes good, and it’s filling, but it left me feeling energized, not weighed down. It is January, and I am debating whether it’s worth trying with non-farmer’s market asparagus…

  143. Cathy L from San Jose

    Yuk — I tried this and misunderstood the directions. The author said “no need to cut off the tough ends” so I INCLUDED the tough ends instead of just using them as a handle — no wonder I found the whole procedure rather an ordeal and no wonder I found the dish stringy and woody. Then I noticed that she had said “Discard the tough ends once you’re done peeling” and I thought — how can I discard them when I’ve included them in the dish? That’s when the penny dropped — duh!
    Oh well, I ruined a perfectly nice bunch of asparagus — the dish was nasty. But even without the tough ends, I don’t think I like the taste of raw asparagus well enough to make it again. I like ’em cooked and I especially love to eat the tender buds at the tip.

  144. Stacey

    I know I’m pretty late to the party with this one, but it’s spring in the Southern Hemisphere and my veggie box arrived with bundles of asparagus. This was a delicious way to use some of it, keeping so much asparagus flavour. I turned it into a meal by making spaghetti and steaming the ribbons for just a minute before mixing it through the pasta (could have boiled it in the last minute of the pasta cooking I guess), along with a couple cloves of chopped garlic browned in oil, plus the lemon, pinenuts and parmesan. With a glass of wine, it was the perfect springy meal to be enjoying now that it’s still light at dinner time – thanks for the inspiration Deb.

  145. Francine

    Asparagus has been especially tender and tasty this early spring and when i saw this recipe I had to make it for dinner party I had last evening.

    my guess went back for 2 and 3 helpings and couldn’t stop commenting it how unique and delicious it was.

    I had some Bosc pears and I peeled those an added them to the salad and it was fantastic

    instead of heating up my oven, i placed the pine nuts in a skillet on my stove top , toasting them that way. They browned beautifully and the natural oils help to coat the skillet.

    I’m making it again next week for another dinner party and this time I might try using FedEx cheese.

    Thank you!

  146. Daniel

    Made it for the closing day of passover and it absolutely vanished within seconds, great and very easy recipe.

    BTW my mom managed to solve the problem with shaving the asparagus with a Y peeler, she simply turned the asparagus slightly with every shave and that way it was always sticking out enough for the peeler to catch it.

  147. Just made this and it’s delightful! Had a heck of a time with the peeling–really need to invest in a y-shaped peeler for next time–but delicious regardless. Thank you for sharing.

    FWIW, I also very gently steamed my ribbons (just a sieve over boiling water in a deep saucepan) to enhance the taste, and also as a precaution against the mild toxins present in raw young asparagus shoots. (You can google a reputable source on this: technically ‘edible,’ but some get rashes and stomach pains.) Stopped before the ribbons went limp and all was well. This way tastes a little less garden-fresh and a little more asparagusy, but we didn’t mind. :)

  148. foxecrewchic

    Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome recipe, I served this as a part of Easter dinner instead of the traditional steamed/cooked asparagus and I got RAVE reviews. I worked fairly well to ribbon the spears the night before and put them into an airtight container and then assemble the next day. Ribboning a pound of asparagus whew!


    I’m serving this for Easter with pork tenderloin w/balsamic glaze. It will be fresh and acidic to cut through the richness of the sauce and pork! Thanks so much, deb!

  150. This was a really excellent salad! Made it for myself for lunch because I was interested in asparagus being the base instead of lettuce. It accompanied some tuna and a boiled egg, and I added some ribboned carrots too. Really lovely way to get some fresh veggies into my daily menu.

  151. Jen T

    OMG. I added some crispy prosciutto to this, and it was unexpectedly amazing! We can’t wait to impress some guests with it! Super easy and delicious.