Asparagus Salad with Cannellini Beans

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No vegetable says spring more than asparagus. And this asparagus salad is a fantastic way to kick off the season. Roasted asparagus is the base not lettuce. It has toasted bread, cannellini beans and Parmesan all tossed in a mustard lemon vinaigrette.  It’s a salad and a side in a single recipe.

Asparagus salad with cannellini beans and croutons in a bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Salad

Asparagus roasts in 7 minutes. The bread takes a little longer, so this salad is all about timing. And it is super simple. Just give the bread a head start by 5 minutes or so on one pan, and then put the asparagus in the oven on another sheet pan.

This salad is a beautiful mix of textures and flavors. When you quick roast asparagus, it retains some of its snap. Then you have the crunch of the croutons, and to contrast all of that are the creamy white beans. It’s a salad that will have you going back bite after bite.

You can serve it warm or at room temperature. It is up to you whether you give the asparagus and toasted bread time to cool off. You can think of this as a warm spring salad or give them more time to cool before assembling everything.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including asparagus, bread, white beans, lemon, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.

This is what you need:

  • Asparagus: Look for asparagus spears that are a similar diameter, if possible. Then they will roast in the same amount of time. They should be firm and not limp. Trim off the bottom ends before slicing them into bite-sized pieces that are about 1-1/2 inches long.
  • Bread: My preference is sourdough for its distinct tang, but you can use country bread or multigrain. Just make sure the bread has a nice crust.
  • Cannellini beans are plump and have a creamy texture. You can substitute with great northern beans, which are slightly smaller.
  • Parmesan: Since this salad takes inspiration from the classic Italian panzanella, I add thinly sliced Parmesan cheese. You can substitute with crumbled feta cheese for a more bold option.
  • Scallions add a light green onion taste and something crisp. You can substitute with half a small red onion, thinly sliced.
  • Parsley: Chopped fresh herbs are a lovely addition to salads including this one.
  • Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for roasting the asparagus, toasting the bread and in the dressing for the best flavor.
  • Salt & pepper season the asparagus and bread before they go in the oven.
  • Lemon vinaigrette: You can call this dressing lemon vinaigrette or mustard vinaigrette. With fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, whole grain mustard, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, it’s a bit of both.

Optional Additions

Even though there are already beans in the salad, these are other proteins you can add to make it a complete meal:

  • Chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • Poached eggs
  • Roasted chicken
  • Tuna

How To Make This Asparagus Salad Recipe

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

1. Toss the bread with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can do this right on a sheet pan. Then arrange the bread, so it is a single layer. You want each piece to make contact with the pan.

2. Toast the bread until it is golden brown. This will take 12-14 minutes. Flip over the bread halfway through toasting.

Bread on a sheet pan before and after it is toasted in the oven.

3. Toss the asparagus stalks with olive oil, salt and pepper on another pan, spreading it in a single layer. The asparagus should not be overlapping.

4. Roast the asparagus until it is bright green and tender-crisp, about 7 minutes. You can do this while you are toasting the bread. Put the bread in first and then put the asparagus in the oven.

Asparagus on a sheet pan before and after it is roasted in the oven.

5. Put the toasted bread, asparagus, cannellini beans, Parmesan, scallions and parsley in a large bowl.

6. Make the dressing. Whisk the garlic, mustard, lemon juice and zest, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together the vinaigrette in another bowl.

7. Drizzle the dressing into the salad, tossing to combine.

8. Put the salad into a serving dish.  You can add more Parmesan on top if you want.

Drizzle the dressing into the bowl with the salad. Salad served in a bowl.

Serving

This is a wonderful spring salad for a weeknight dinner or a holiday like Easter. It does the job of salad as well as side dish. As mentioned, you can serve it warm or at room temperature. Since it does not have leafy greens, it will not wilt. That’s why I love this salad for entertaining.

Leftovers & Storage Tips

You can save the salad in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. To keep leftovers at their best, take out the croutons or they will become soft and soggy in the chill of the refrigerator. You can save the croutons in a separate container at room temperature and toast them for 3-5 minutes in a 350-degree F oven, so they will be crunchy again.

More Asparagus Recipes

Sesame Tofu Asparagus
Roasted Asparagus Soup
Grilled Asparagus Salad with Cherry Tomatoes
Roasted Asparagus Potato Salad
Sheet Pan Mushroom Asparagus Gnocchi
Udon Noodle Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Parmesan Garlic Roasted Asparagus

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Asparagus Salad with Cannellini Beans and Toasted Bread

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
Servings: 6
This roasted asparagus salad is a mix of cannellini beans, toasted bread, Parmesan, scallions and fresh herbs tossed in lemon mustard vinaigrette.

Ingredients 

  • For toasted bread
  • 4-5 slices sourdough bread torn into 1-1/2 inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • For asparagus
  • 1 pound asparagus trimmed, cut into 1-1/2 inch long pieces
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • For salad
  • 1 15- ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • For vinaigrette
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Toss the bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper on a sheet pan. Spread into a single layer. Toast the bread for 12-14 minutes until golden brown, flipping over halfway through toasting.
  • Toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper on another sheet pan. Spread into a single layer. Roast the asparagus until it is bright green and some pieces are lightly browned at the edges, about 7 minutes. (Note: About halfway through toasting the bread, you can roast the asparagus, so they cook in the oven at the same time.)
  • Combine the toasted bread, asparagus, cannellini beans, Parmesan, scallions and parsley in a bowl.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, mustard, lemon juice and zest, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Drizzle the dressing into the salad, tossing to combine.

Notes

Half a small thinly sliced red onion can be substituted for the scallions.
For a stronger cheese, swap the Parmesan with 1/3 cup crumbled feta.
Remove the croutons from the salad before storing leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Store extra dressing in another jar. Keep the croutons in a separate container at room temperature. Bake the croutons at 350 degrees F for 3-5 minutes if they need to be made crispy again.

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 900mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 707IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @lastingredient on Instagram and tag it #lastingredient!

Originally published May 8, 2017. Updated March 29, 2023.


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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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