Roasted asparagus, fresh cherry tomatoes, garlicky couscous, and feta cheese with a simple vinaigrette. It's a great spring side dish!
Course Side Dish, Vegetarian
Keyword asparagus salad
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 17minutes
Total Time 47minutes
Servings 6as a side salad
1bunchfresh asparagus(~1 lb. 450g)
2tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and pepper
1package (5.8 oz.; 164g)Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil CouscousNote 1
1cup (150g)ripe cherry tomatoes,halved (1/2 of 1 10.5 oz. container)
1/3cup (47g)feta cheese,crumbled
3tablespoons (45g)balsamic vinegar
2tablespoons (25g)extra virgin olive oil
ASPARAGUS PREP: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Break the woody ends off the asparagus. Toss the asparagus, 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste) together on a large sheet pan. Space out asparagus on a sheet pan so it has plenty of room to roast; if the pan is crowded, it will steam instead of roast.
BAKEASPARAGUS: Bake in the oven for 7-15 minutes (depending on the asparagus thickness; thinner stems will cook very quickly), flipping the spears once halfway into the cooking time. Remove and squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice over the spears. Allow to cool and chop into 2-inch pieces.
COUSCOUS: Meanwhile, prepare the packaged couscous according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool. (See Note 1.)
DRESSING: While the asparagus is cooking, prepare the dressing. Pour the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce until the vinegar is halved (about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons). This happens very quickly once it is boiling, so don't walk away -- watch it closely. Allow to slightly cool and then add to a Mason jar. Add remaining dressing ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/4 up to 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.) Put the lid on the jar and shake to combine. You may need to stir the dressing to get the honey to incorporate. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to dress salad; shake again before topping the salad.
SALAD ASSEMBLY: Halve the cherry tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and cooled, chopped asparagus to the large bowl with the couscous. Gently toss. Read the next step and then add dressing to taste with another fresh squeeze of lemon if desired. (We love fresh lemon; it really makes the flavors sing!) Gently toss again and then top with the crumbled feta cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Enjoy immediately.
STORAGE: If you don't plan on eating all of the salad, only dress what you will eat, since this salad doesn't sit well with the dressing for an extended time.
Note 1: I use a boxed and seasoned couscous mix for this salad. Our favorite couscous mix is made by Near East and is labeled as "Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil" flavored. If you'd prefer not to use a boxed couscous, use about a half cup of plain couscous in its place. There are several different types of couscous, so you want to make sure to get the small (Moroccan) couscous so it cooks up in this short amount of time and integrates into the salad nicely.