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Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

Asparagus and shrimp salad is a great way to use fresh spring asparagus.

shrimp and asparagus salad
Cold Asparagus and Shrimp Salad. Photo: Andres Ramirez aprphotography.com

I heart San Francisco’s New May Wah grocery store! Spanning half a city block, this Asian mega-market boasts an entire aisle dedicated to dried fungi and seaweed alone. The coauthor and I love to make a day of roaming the aisles, boldly throwing mystery foods into our cart (gogi leaves, anchovy crunch, ambiguously-packaged powders), and then trying to figure out what to do with them. The staff isn’t exactly the “How may I help you today?” type, but the lack of guidance only adds to the adventure. (Tangent: if your own Asian supermarket confuses and intimidates you, get yourself a copy of The Asian Grocery Store Demystified, by Linda Bladholm.)

Anyway, I’m not sure why NMW was selling asparagus for $1.39 per pound in the middle of December—and I’m not sure I really want to know. But never one to question a source of cheap asparagus, I gleefully snatched up a couple of bundles. I was going to a dinner party that night, and had to bring an entree that would not require last-minute heating in a crowded kitchen. So I tossed some fresh basil and a bag of cooked shrimp into my shopping basket, and along with a few other basic ingredients I already had at home, whipped up this simple, flavorful, colorful, portable salad.

Yield: 4 to 6

Cold Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

shrimp and asparagus salad

This simple, flavorful, colorful salad is served cold and easy to transport — making it a perfect dish to bring to a potluck lunch or dinner party.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1¼ pounds asparagus, woody ends trimmed and spears sliced into 1½-inch lengths
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • ¼–½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼–½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of your lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ pound cooked shrimp
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Put asparagus slices in a steamer basket placed inside a pot filled with about an inch of water. Bring water to a boil over high heat, lower heat, cover pot, and steam asparagus until just tender (2 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears).
  2. Place asparagus in a serving bowl and let cool in the fridge.
  3. While asparagus is steaming and cooling, combine lemon juice, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl or a jar with a tightly fitting lid.
  4. Add olive oil and whisk or shake vigorously until well combined. Taste and add salt, pepper, or sugar if needed.
  5. Add onion, letting it marinate in the dressing for a few minutes.
  6. Toss shrimp, basil, pine nuts, and cheese with the asparagus (reserving a little of the cheese to sprinkle on top after dressing).
  7. Add the marinated onion and lemon vinaigrette to taste (you may have some vinaigrette left over).
  8. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 319Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 127mgSodium 1238mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 4gSugar 5gProtein 21g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.


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By on January 1st, 2011

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

More about Robin

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