Citrus Salad with Asparagus – While most people associate salads with health and nutrition, unfortunately, this is often not true. With most salads including globs of cheese, heavy cream-based dressings, processed meats, bacon bits, croutons made with refined flour, and empty-calorie vegetable oils, salads are often a total nutritional nightmare.
The other side of the coin is that some salads are so “light” you might as well be munching on air. What good is eating a salad for lunch if 20 minutes later you start craving pizza, burgers and fries? That’s why I created this Salad with Asparagus Recipe! This salad is the best of both worlds, being both nutritionally dense, and filling! Make this quick and easy salad knowing the whole family will be enjoying a flavorful, delicious, and healthy meal!
Salads Don’t Always Need to Have Lettuce
One of the keys to healthy whole food eating is to fill up on nutrient-dense foods that supply lots of nutrition, lots of fiber and lots of bang for every bite. I’m a huge salad eater, and I can tell you a salad can absolutely be super filling AND nutritious if made with the right ingredients. Furthermore, a salad doesn’t even need to have lettuce to be a “salad”. A lot of times I make lettuce-free salads with one or two raw or lightly cooked vegetables, like this Citrus Salad with Asparagus.
I also love adding fruits (both fresh and dry) and fresh herbs to my salad for some extra bursts of flavor. Think outside the bowl, and feel free to make this salad your own.
Salad Booster Tips
Looking for some creative ways to mix up your salads, and add some extra nutritional value AND flavor? We’ve got you covered…
Hemp seeds are actually an incredibly nutrient-dense “superfruit” that look a little like itty bitty sunflower seeds. They are tiny and roundish with a mellow and slightly nutty flavor but, unlike nuts, they are soft in texture. There are so many benefits to hemp seeds, including being anti-inflammatory, helpful in improving insulin and aiding in weight loss, and so much more!
Fruit (dried or fresh!)
Fruit is a delicious and healthy way to satisfy that sweet tooth. It’s also delicious when paired with a savory salad, for that popular sweet and salty combo. Fruit is filled with phytonutrients, which offers incredible anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging benefits. The more fruit, the better!
Extra Nuts and Seeds
While there are already nuts in this salad, feel free to switch them up, switch them out for seeds, or even add extra nuts on top of the pecans!
Not only do nuts and seeds contribute great texture to salads, they also make them more satisfying. Pretty much any nut or seed will work, but you will definitely want to chop them first. Sometimes I like to sprinkle on “nut or seed crumbs” as a substitute for Parmesan Cheese.
To make nut or seed “crumbs” you simply put whatever nut you are using in a mini food processor and process until crumb-like. If you really want to bring the flavor out, you can try toasting your nuts or seeds in a dry pan over medium heat.
Full of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and more, nuts and seeds are a fantastic option both nutrition, and flavorfully!
You can definitely be creative in the cheese department and use whatever cheese you like. For a vegan option, we love using plant-based nut cheeses like Dr. Cow, or Miyokos! You could even try to make your very own Vegan Cheese Recipe.
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this or not, but I add avocado to nearly every burger, salad, or wrap I ever make. I just love the creamy and subtle flavor of avocados, as well as how filling they are! Avocados are full of healthy fats, potassium, fiber, and many other nutritional benefits. They make a tasty addition to any salad, and are a great source of healthy calories.
How to Make a Salad Healthy
Like mentioned above, not all salads are healthy. To make a salad healthy, it’s best to avoid empty-calorie, pro-inflammatory additions. So, how exactly do you decipher between healthy and unhealthy ingredients? Here are our top tips…
Use Healthy Oils
A huge factor determining whether a salad is healthy or not is the oil you use for the dressing or vinaigrette. If you buy bottled dressings (as most people do) you can be 90% sure you’ll be eating empty-calorie, highly refined, pro-inflammatory vegetable oil (such as “pure” vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, etc). Not only does this taste terrible, but it also won’t do a thing for promoting good health (or slimming your waistline).
By using a high quality oil (such as unrefined extra virgin olive oil, hempseed oil or flax oil), you can substantially boost the health and taste of your salad. Even if you do use healthy oil as a base for your dressing or vinaigrette, you still don’t need to go crazy pouring pounds of it on your salad. By mixing fresh herbs, garlic and something acidic (such as vinegar or lemon juice) with your oil, you get big bold flavors thus only needing to use the dressing sparingly.
Skip the Dairy
Here at Clean Cuisine, we’ve always made our stance on dairy very clear; we believe it causes more harm than good, and frankly, there’s no simply need for it. Besides, with all of the delicious and abundant vegan options these days, why choose an inflammatory and potentially harmful ingredient over one that is abundantly nutrient-dense and just as tasty? So, skip out on the dairy-filled dressings and cheeses, and opt for homemade dressing and vegan cheese!
Skip the Croutons
…or don’t! Croutons aren’t unhealthy by their very nature, they are unhealthy due to the fact that they’re usually made with refined flour. If you enjoy croutons, try toasting and breaking up whole grain, gluten free bread. Just as delicious, but much much healthier!
Ready for the full recipe? Let’s get into it!
Salad with Asparagus
While not all salads are healthy, This Salad with Asparagus is both nutritionally dense, and filling!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Salad with Asparagus
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed
- 2 oranges, cut into slices
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1/4 cup flax oil
- 3–4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, fresh
- Himalayan pink salt, to taste
Salad with Asparagus
- Prepare a large ice bath.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes, until just fork-tender.
- Drain the asparagus, rinsed with cool water and immediately plunge it into the ice bath. Let the asparagus sit in the ice bath for 4-5 minutes to stop the cooking process.
- Remove the asparagus from the ice bath, and pat dry with paper towels (it’s important to pat totally dry, or else the vinaigrette will slip off).
- Place the asparagus in a large serving bowl.
- Add the shallots and oranges, and toss to combine.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette (instructions below) on top of the salad, and gently toss.
- Sprinkle the pecans on top.
- Let salad sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving (this will help the flavors develop).
- Serve, and enjoy!
- Place all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth and creamy.
Keywords: Salad with Asparagus