This asparagus and cherry tomato sesame salad is as striking as it is flavourful. Tossed in an Asian-inspired vinaigrette, this summery salad aims to please.
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ASPARAGUS AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD RECIPE VIDEO
Do you want to see how to put this summery salad together? Here’s the video tutorial. If this is your first time in the Kitchen, this isn’t your average cooking demonstration. If you like what you see, I hope you’ll subscribe to my YouTube channel!
ABOUT THIS SALAD
The idea for this salad probably would have slipped by me completely had I not worked in pastry. For a couple of years, I worked for a boulangerie that not only sold bread and pastries, but also breakfast, lunch and dinner. This included hot meals, sandwiches, soups and salads. One of these salads was this asparagus and cherry tomato salad with an Asian-inspired dressing that always knocked my socks off. It was (and still is) my favourite salad in the whole wide world, but despite working there for two years, would you believe I never got the recipe?
I grew up in farm country, and one of the local farms sold asparagus. For a twenty-dollar bill, I would come home with two or three shopping bags bursting with asparagus. And I had a choice between skinny or fat asparagus. It was a luxury. So was my mom’s asparagus patch that she had for three years. You don’t know what you have till it’s gone.
Anyhow, there are debates over this. I like my asparagus thin, some like their asparagus stocky. It doesn’t matter for this salad. Choose the asparagus that suits you best. When you’re ready to make the salad, give the asparagus a good washing to ensure there’s no hidden sand and trim the woody stalks. I usually just snap the ends off, letting the snap guide me. Since I’m a frugal kind of gal, I save my ends, storing them in a freezer bag until I have enough to make an asparagus soup or a broth from my kitchen scraps. Waste not, want not, that’s my motto!
THE CHERRY TOMATOES
These days, asparagus is available year-round, which is why I say this salad is more summery than spring-like. Really though, it’s both because while asparagus is a spring crop, no store-bought pint of cherry tomatoes can compare with summery, sun-ripened garden tomatoes. While I prefer the flavour of cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes work well in this salad, too. They actually hold up better because they have less water than cherry tomatoes, so they’re easier to slice in half.
Yes, there are onions in this recipe! I invite you to play with the onions. My top picks for this asparagus and cherry tomato salad are green onions, chives, and shallots. The first two options are the mildest, but for more bite, try it out with finely chopped shallots.
What’s a sesame salad without a few sesame seeds? For the best possible flavour, toast them on a dry skillet until they’re golden. For a visually striking salad, swap white sesame seeds out for black sesame seeds.
THE VINAIGRETTE FOR ASPARAGUS AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD
The dressing for this asparagus and cherry tomato salad couldn’t be easier to make. As tempting as it may be, please don’t go out and buy a salad dressing. What you make at home is so much healthier and preservative-free. To learn more about how to make vinaigrettes from scratch, check out this post. Anyhow, this vinaigrette is Asian-inspired in that it relies on sesame oil, rice vinegar and shoyu. Combined with a lighter tasting vegetable oil (avocado oil is my favourite) and a bit of pepper, all it needs is a quick shake before drizzling it over the salad.
A NOTE ON SHOYU
I bring this up in the video, so I figure I’ll make a note if it here, too. Shoyu is a raw and naturally fermented soy sauce. It’s teeming with enzymes and has a rich umami flavour that’s incomparable to commercial soya sauce. It’s not a cheap ingredient, however. If you can’t get your hands on it (or can’t afford to splurge), the next best option is tamari, followed by regular soya sauce. Since jumping on the shoyu train over a year ago, there’s no way I would go back, so if you want to treat yourself to something new, I highly recommend it!
MAKING ASPARAGUS AND CHERRY TOMATO SESAME SALAD
If you’re planning on making this salad for a gathering, you’ll be pleased to know that this salad can be made in advance. There’s a bit of prep work involved with the asparagus, but other than that, it’s simple to put together.
First, the asparagus needs to be blanched. I like boiling it until it’s al dente. When the asparagus turns bright green, I’ll carefully test the asparagus for doneness by biting into a piece. If I’m happy with the crunch factor, I transfer the asparagus to an ice water bath to halt the cooking. Once they’re cool and drained, I roll them up in a clean kitchen towel to dry.
From there, it’s a simple matter of toasting the sesame seeds, halving the cherry tomatoes, and shaking up the vinaigrette. Toss everything together in a bowl and either serve the salad right away or chill it for later. Remember to taste it!
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY THE KITCHEN!
I’ve eaten a lot of salads over the course of my life, and this is hands down my favourite salad. My pan-fried chicken caesar salad is a close runner up, but the asparagus and cherry tomato salad is unique and incredibly delicious. Plus, it’s made with my favourite vegetable: asparagus! I hope you love it as much as I do, and if you try it out, please consider coming back to the Kitchen to leave a rating. I would be ever so grateful!
PRINTABLE ASPARAGUS AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD RECIPE CARD
Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Sesame Salad
- 1 oz sesame oil
- 2 oz avocado oil
- 1 oz rice vinegar
- 3/4 tsp shoyu*
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 lbs asparagus
- 1 pt. cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 tbsp chives/green onions/shallots finely chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
- salt & pepper to taste
- Thoroughly wash the asparagus and break off the woody ends.
- Cut the asparagus in 2" chunks and put a pot of well-salted water to boil. The water should taste like the sea.
- While we wait for the water to boil, make the vinaigrette by combining all of the ingredients in a jar and giving it a good shake.
- Toast the sesame seeds over medium low heat until they turn golden, stirring them around frequently.
- When the water comes to a boil, add the asparagus. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the asparagus turn bright green. They should still have a bit of bite.
- While the asparagus are blanching, prepare an ice water bath. This will halt the cooking when the asparagus are ready.
- When the asparagus are ready, drain them or scoop them out with a slotted spoon into the ice water bath. After removing the ice, drain the cooled asparagus and wrap them up in a clean kitchen towel to dry.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss all of the ingredients together. Taste and make any seasoning adjustments if needed.
- Grape tomatoes can be used instead of cherry tomatoes.
- This salad can be made in advance and tastes better the next day.
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Love and gratitude,