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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you know, I don't think I've ever had posole at all before--let alone posole in a green salad! Super interesting. And who doesn't want to cram all the asparagus possible into their mouths before the season ends? :)


I appreciate the link to Rancho Gordo for spectacular beans,corn products and spices. Best resource ever!!!


Any way I can figure out to get more asparagus down my throat this time of year is a good thing. This looks absolutely perfect & fresh.

Gina @ Running to the Kitchen

Fabulous. Thanks Heidi.

Kelly Turnbull

I buy posole or hominy in a can. Yes, it is very easy to make but sometimes one needs timesavers. This looks fantastic and a wonderful use of what's on hand. And thank goodness, I have it on hand!

Abbe@This is How I Cook

Mmm... the same thing happened here last night when we added ground walnuts to vegan mushroom ragu. It added such a lovely dimension to the sauce! This salad looks so snappy and fresh. Good thoughts on an unexpected combo. Yum.


My favorite way to cook...I love it when the stars align. Looks lovely.


Your opening lines are brilliant. I feel the same way about cooking up things from leftovers. It forces me to be creative and sometimes the most ingenious things come out. Very inspiring! For once I will just stay put and not run out to get something that I think I'm missing!

Aleksandra Peyrer-Navijalic

This sounds lovely, but I have never come across hominy here in the UK. Which other grain would you recommend - barley perhaps?

Natalie Harris

My mom went on a posole kick when I was a little girl, but it's been years since I've had it, let alone alone think about it. Methinks it's time to revisit it, because this combination looks so fresh and flavorful!

Rachael (Fuji Mama)

Just picked up some organic asparagus (a rarity, I find) and have been wondering what to do with the posole in the pantry. Thank you!

Lia Huber

It looks amazing, I can't wait to do it myself. Farro is not easy to fin here, but maybe replace it with barley? Thanks for sharing!

Clara P

For those asking about buttermilk, just make your own! Use 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, then fill the rest of the cup with milk, stir, and presto! buttermilk. It would probably work just as well for goat's milk as cow's milk.


Always learn something wonderful from you. This time, Posole. I'm going to ask my Mexican friends if I can find it here in Paris.


Looks to me like canned hominy would work here in a pinch, though of course fresh-cooked Anson Mills would be preferred . . . another good reason to keep a can in the pantry for emergencies! I will be trying this out this weekend. Thanks!

Jim Dillon

That asparagus looks so beautiful! This looks great Heidi, I can't wait to try it.

Sarah G

This recipe has me craving a salad at 7am. I love when inspiration hits and works out so well, with only the ingredients on hand!


Do you have a standard method for cooking your hominy? I've tried several, and while they taste fine they look like a piece of popcorn exploded versus the dainty little guys in your beautiful pics ;-)

HS: Hi Darian - nothing particularly special going on here. I soak the posole/hominy overnight (at least), and then simmer it until many of the kernels have popped. I salt about 1/3 of the way through, but I suspect you could salt from the start.


It looks fresh and delicious, and I love the idea of a buttermilk dressing.


This looks so fresh and tasty!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

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