This delicious, colorful Asparagus Salad has red peppers, bacon, dried cranberries, and almonds. It’s crunchy, a little sweet, and totally addictive.

Asparagus salad in a wooden bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Asparagus Salad Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for asparagus salad in various bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Bacon: To cook bacon in the oven, arrange it in a single layer on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven. ¼ cup store-bought cooked bacon may be substituted for the 4 slices raw bacon. Do not substitute bacon bits (the crunchy salad topping) which are often made of soy.
  • Asparagus: Asparagus should be bright green with a slight purple hue at the tips. Choose asparagus stalks that are smooth, firm, and straight. Pass up any that have wrinkled stalks or dark, slimy tips.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. To make the balsamic vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper).
A bowl of balsamic vinaigrette.
  1. To cook the bacon, fry the strips in a roomy skillet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking the other side. Depending on the thickness of your bacon, this could take 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels and chop.
Bacon frying in a silver pan.
  1. To blanch the asparagus, fill a saucepan or stock pot with an inch of salted water and bring to boil. Make a large bowl of ice water. Add the asparagus and cook until the bright green and tender-crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and plunge the asparagus into the ice water. Pat cooled asparagus dry and chop into bite-sized, one-inch pieces.
Asparagus in ice water in a white dish.
  1. In a big bowl, combine the asparagus, red onion, bell pepper, and cranberries. Gently pour in the balsamic dressing and give everything a thorough toss. Chill the salad until you need it. Just before serving, add the bacon and slivered almonds.
Asparagus salad in a wooden bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 6 servings.
  • Make ahead: The vinaigrette can be made up to 4 days in advance. All vegetables and the bacon can be prepared a day in advance. The salad can be assembled, dressed, and refrigerated up to 2 hours in advance (hold back the almonds and bacon and add just before serving).
  • Raw asparagus: If you have the patience, you can shave the asparagus into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler and transfer to a large bowl.
  • More mix-ins: Try chopped tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, feta cheese, shaved Parmesan, toasted walnuts, or sunflower seeds.

More delicious salads

Asparagus salad in a wooden bowl.

Asparagus Salad

This delicious, colorful Asparagus Salad has red peppers, bacon, dried cranberries, and almonds. It’s crunchy, a little sweet, and totally addictive.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 206

Ingredients 

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 4 slices bacon (see note 1)
  • 2 pounds asparagus trimmed (see note 2)
  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced (about ⅓ cup)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds roasted if desired

Instructions 

  • To make the balsamic vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper). Allow the flavors to blend at room temperature while preparing the salad.
  • To a cold skillet, add bacon slices in a single layer (touching is okay but you don't want them overlapping too much). Turn heat to medium and cook bacon until brown on one side and curling, about 5 minutes (7 minutes for thick-cut bacon).
  • Flip bacon and continue to cook until the second side is browned, about 3 to 5 minutes longer depending on your desired crispness. Drain on paper towels and chop.
  • While the bacon is cooking, fill a large bowl with water and ice. In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring 1 inch water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil. Add asparagus, cover, and boil until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from boiling water and plunge into ice bath to stop the cooking. When completely cool, drain well and pat try. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • In a large bowl, combine asparagus, red onion, red pepper, and cranberries. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and toss to coat. Cover and chill until serving time. Just before serving, stir in almonds and bacon.

Notes

  1. Bacon: To cook bacon in the oven, arrange it in a single layer on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven. ¼ cup store-bought cooked bacon may be substituted for the 4 slices raw bacon. Do not substitute bacon bits (the crunchy salad topping) which are often made of soy.
  2. Asparagus: Asparagus should be bright green with a slight purple hue at the tips. Choose asparagus stalks that are smooth, firm, and straight. Pass up any that have wrinkled stalks or dark, slimy tips.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 6 servings.
  4. Make ahead: The vinaigrette can be made up to 4 days in advance. All vegetables and the bacon can be prepared a day in advance. The salad can be assembled, dressed, and refrigerated up to 2 hours in advance (hold back the almonds and bacon and add just before serving).
  5. Raw asparagus: If you have the patience, you can shave the asparagus into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. More mix-ins: Try chopped tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, feta cheese, shaved Parmesan, toasted walnuts, or sunflower seeds.

Nutrition

Calories: 206kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 7gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 125mgPotassium: 430mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1458IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 4mg
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Comments

  1. This recipe is amazing!! My husband and I make this all the time whenever asparagus is in season. I love having a non-mayo option for a picnic or potluck. Thanks!5 stars