Buttermilk Asparagus Salad Recipe

Simple side - asparagus tossed with a garlicky buttermilk dressing, perky radish sprouts, lots of fresh cilantro, and a handful of cooked posole.

Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

Sometimes I open the refrigerator, the star's align, angels sing, and I end up with something off-beat and special. No special trip to the store, and no over-thinking ingredient or flavor combinations. I like putting ingredients together in ways I've never tried before, and sometimes having limited choices is exactly the nudge I need in that direction. I think that's what happened here. I made this simple side dish the other night using everything on the left-hand, bottom shelf. It's asparagus tossed with a garlicky buttermilk dressing, perky radish sprouts, lots of fresh cilantro, and a handful of cooked posole. I had posole on hand, but beans (chickpeas?), farro, orzo, or toasted nuts would be an easy swap if you don't.

Buttermilk Asparagus SaladButtermilk Asparagus Salad

I should also mention its the sort of thing you can prep nearly 100% ahead of time. You can make the dressing a day or two prior to using. And you can cook, chill, dry, and refrigerate the asparagus in advance as well. A few snips of sprouts and some cilantro, and you're all set.

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Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

I use posole here, but understand not many of you keep it (cooked) on hand. I imagine (cooked) beans, farro, or orzo would be good substitutions!

buttermilk dressing:
1 medium clove garlic
scant teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup / 240 ml buttermilk
1/4 cup / 60 ml good-quality white wine vinegar
1/4 cup / 60 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-Inch segments
1 large handful of cooked posole / hominy (see head notes)
a big handful of chopped cilantro
a big handful of sprouts (I used radish sprouts here)

To make the dressing, combine the garlic and salt on a cutting board. Mash into a paste using the flat side of your knife. Place in a medium bowl or jar, then add the buttermilk and vinegar. Whisk together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil. Let sit while you make the rest of the components.

You can saute or steam the asparagus. I used a simple basket steamer over a bit of water in a skillet. It might be easier for you to do a "steam-saute"....Start with a cold skillet. Add 1/4 cup / 60 ml water, a splash of olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, add the asparagus, cover, cooking until the asparagus is just tender and bright in color, barely a minute. In either case, drain, then transfer to a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Just before you're ready to serve the salad, combine the asparagus, posole, cilantro, and sprouts in a large bowl. Coat generously with a splash of the buttermilk dressing, and toss well before serving. You'll likely have a bit of leftover dressing which can be used on vegetables, noodles, salads, and grains.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 7 minutes - Cook time: 5 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Actually, the only reason I don't keep cooked posole around is that it had never occurred to me that there might be uses for it other than in soup! Now my mind is going crazy with ideas for it...a deconstructed cheesy grit bowl? Seared over high heat with a limey dipping sauce? mmmm


Love the look and sound of this one Heidi. I agree, sometimes the best dishes come out of just a few simple ingredients xx

Emma Galloway

I just finally realized that hominy is not something to be afraid of. I put it in a stew. It was awesome. This is next.

LisaR @ Who Stole My Baby?

This sounds wonderful! I think some sunflower seeds would be great in here, too.


i first thought those white nubbins were barley, and now can't shake that notion. i think it would be lovely here. maybe lentils? tiny white beans. later, green beans, steamed and chilled. i agree, heidi, this has all the hallmarks of a great salad: flexibility, verve, snap, flavor, and yum. thank you, refrigerator angels!


I love when you use Tex-Mex ingredients! I never thought I'd see hominy on your site. I'm excited to try this!


This is such a lovely salad! I love anything with hominy!

Marie @ Little Kitchie

You're like freaking Wonder Woman. xo.

Bev @ Bev Cooks

That looks wonderful! I just made a asparagus dish myself, it's awesome the season of this great vegetable just started! I'd love to make this salad!

Mirjam Leslie-Pringle

So pretty, as always! I wonder how goat milk would go for the dressing, instead of buttermilk? Hmmm....

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic

what a great salad!

Simply Life

Hi Heidi thanks for this nice recipe, I love the combination of flavours here. Just a question: what would you suggest me to use instead of buttermilk? It's not quite common here in Italy. Do you think a light cream would do instead? or should I swap it with something else? Thanks, Roberta

HS: Can you get coconut milk Roberta? Or good, plain soy milk - both are goof substitutions.


Sounds like magic to me!

Belinda @zomppa

A lovely and delicate looking salad!


Hi all, any german speaking folks around? The words " Farro" and "Orzo" do not show up in my dictionary and I would like to know the german equivalent. I know "posole" though....Can anybody help? Cheers, Claudia


Buttermilk can do no wrong and I bet it's perfect here! Such a pretty spring-time salad. I just love asparagus and bought some more today, actually!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

Love asparagus and now that we're entering season for them I should be able to get my hands on some locally grown and organic at the farmers' market. I'm still struggling with posole a bit but I guess it's more of an acquired taste, meaning that I have to keep trying!


I can't wait for asparagus season here in the UK. This looks like a great salad. I love it when you can create something wonderful out of the simplest ingredients. :)


This sounds heavenly. I have yet to try cooking hominy, I suppose I should get on that soon.


Just wondering about what you are calling posole. I have only heard that called hominy. Do people also call that posole? Posole is a Mexican soup that has hominy in it.

HS: Hi Olga - it's called both here, posole / hominy. Here's a link to the dried posole I use.


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