A Lemony Asparagus Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs
I’m getting excited as the weather is warming up because that means more barbecues, picnics, and outdoor meals with family and friends. Whether the get-togethers are for a holiday or just to enjoy the nice spring weather, my Spring Asparagus Grain Salad is the perfect side dish for the occasion.
This grain salad recipe can be easily doubled or tripled, and it’s not going to wilt like a leafy green salad, so it’s perfect for a large crowd. Or just make a batch for yourself!
It’s a perfect side salad to any grilled meats like my staple bulk grilled chicken, or our favorite brown sugar spiced pork tenderloin. But since I prefer most meals out of a massive bowl, haha, I’m always going to bulk it up with extra greens, and chop up my grilled chicken so I can have some of everything in EACH BITE obviously.
This Spring Asparagus Grain Salad is filled with fresh spring ingredients. Asparagus is at the height of the season in April and it’s so healthy, delicious, and versatile. It’s a lower-carb veggie, packed full of fiber, which is always going to mean great things when counting macros. It helps to fill you up and bulk up your meal while adding only a handful of carbs and protein. Also, the combination of the bright spring colors make this salad beautiful! And I hope you don’t think I’m shallow, but I think beautiful salads taste better. Just saying.
Also, this grain salad makes the perfect meal-prep. I like to make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for lunches. You can just pull it out and add some chicken, or if you’re into massive salads like me, also throw it over a huge bowl of arugula or butter lettuce. Maybe add a little extra lemon or my favorite sweet vinegar-– (I can’t live without that stuff), and maybe some hummus. YUM.
How to Make Your Spring Grain Salad
Be sure to make your brown rice ahead of time. I love to use the frozen packets from Trader Joe’s, or the pre-made brown rice bowl from Costco.
Prep your veggies. Slice your radishes and chop your asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Be sure to cut off the tough ends of your asparagus, so you’re getting the 225 grams of good asparagus.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat and spray with a mist of olive oil spray. When it’s hot, add your chopped asparagus to it with a good pinch of kosher salt and cracked pepper. Cook for about two minutes, stirring a few times.
Add one cup of frozen peas to the pan and toss this with the asparagus for about 30 seconds then turn off heat. You just want the peas to thaw. Turn off the heat and then pour your asparagus mixture into a large bowl.
Add your cooked brown rice, sliced radishes, fresh herbs, and parmesan to your asparagus mixture. Give it a good toss and then zest your lemon right into the salad.
Next, cut your lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the salad. I like to juice the lemon in a small bowl and discard the seeds before adding the juice to the salad.
Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! This would be a great side salad to your dinner, or you can bulk it up with chicken and/or more greens to make it a meal!
What You’ll Need for Your Spring Asparagus Grain Salad
- Frozen peas
- Brown rice
- Basil, mint, & parsley
- Grated parmesan
- Salt & pepper to taste
I love lemon with asparagus, and the fresh herbs take it next level. Don’t skip! Mixed together with the sweet peas and the chewy brown rice— just trust me.
Of course the protein in the macros will be low because I left it meat-free so you can have more control over how much you need/want to add.
New to macros? Don’t worry, macro counting can be easy even if you feel like life is too busy. The key is to plan ahead, and use my meals. Haha. They’re already loaded in My Fitness Pal. Log whatever portion you want and follow the recipe. You get it. See notes below the recipe for tips on how to log.
If you want more macro-friendly recipes that are easy to make and tips on how to easily track your macros, follow me on Instagram @lillieeatsandtells or check out my cookbooks here.
Spring Asparagus and Grain Salad
- 2 heaping cups of asparagus spears trimmed, and chopped into one-inch pieces (225 g)
- 1 cup frozen peas 125 g
- 1.5 cups cooked brown rice 210 grams
- 4 radishes sliced thin (80 g)
- Handful each of: basil mint, parsley, chopped (8 g of each or 24 total grams of herbs)
- 2 Tbsp good grated parmesan 14 g
- Zest and juice from one lemon 25 g juice
- ¼-½ tsp kosher salt more to taste
- Cracked pepper to taste
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. Spray with a mist of olive oil spray and let it get hot. Trim tough ends off of asparagus and chop into one-inch pieces so that you have 225 grams of good asparagus. Add to the hot pan with a good pinch of kosher salt and cracked pepper. Cook for just two minutes, stirring a few times.
- Add one cup of frozen peas to the hot pan and toss with the asparagus for just about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat. This should be good enough to thaw your peas. Pour into a large bowl.
- Add cooked brown rice, sliced radishes, fresh herbs, and parmesan to your asparagus mixture. Toss well. Zest one lemon right into your bowl, then slice it in half to juice it. (I like to squeeze mine into a small bowl and then pour it into my salad through a finely slotted spoon to catch the seeds.) Add salt and pepper. Taste and add more to your liking!
- Enjoy! Great as a simple side salad, or of course bulked up with chicken and added greens to make it a meal!
Tried this recipe?
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Such a wonderful salad with a light and fresh vibe – lots of fiber and flavor as usual! Love recipes like this where I can add my own protein source on the side or mixed in.
SO DELICIOUS!! I had to sub farro for the rice, and used crumbled feta instead of parm (based on what I had on hand)….it was so fresh and yummy! I’m excited to have this on hand for lunches!