You simply must make this asparagus, rocket and parmesan salad next time you, well, need a side salad. So much flavour, yet it’s light, tangy and totally delicious. This will be your new favourite side dish.

Love a classic side? Try this simple potato salad and this roasted beetroot feta salad too.

A large bowl filled with salad with a pot of dressing on the side.

Why you’ll love it

I have made this asparagus, rocket and parmesan salad I think a bazillion times now, it’s just so good. You’ve got peppery rocket (aka arugula), robust parmesan, sweet and earthy asparagus and the best EVER, tangy lemon mustard dressing.

Big call? Not at all, I promise you’ll want to dress everything with this. Don’t worry if you aren’t a big mustard fan, the dressing has just a subtle but there flavour though if you love mustard you could certainly add a touch more.

There are only a few ingredients in this rocket salad recipe and every single one has it’s place. The sweet and tangy dressing balances the spicy rocket and the earthy asparagus. The parmesan, shallot and pine nuts add richness and flavour.

And if it’s not the prettiest salad, I don’t know what is.

Ingredients you’ll need

Ingredients for rocket and parmesan on a marble benchtop.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Rocket: Also, known as arugula, roquette or rucola, rocket is a peppery slightly bitter leaf used in salads. While it keeps it’s pepperiness here, the tangy dressing takes away the bitterness and is a wonderful combination. While I wouldn’t recommend substituting it, baby spinach would work.
  • Asparagus: Asparagus are where the inspiration for this salad started. This very recognisable veggie is packed with nutrients and has a sweet, almost earthy flavour.
  • Parmesan: I can’t stress this enough – you must use a block of parmesan and shave it yourself. Pre-shredded or pre-shaved parmesan will have anti-caking agents on it which affects the flavour and texture. You can also use grana Padano.
  • Pine nuts: You’ll want toasted pine nuts for this. They give an irresistible crunch and nuttiness to the salad. If you can only find raw pine nuts, just toast them in a dry saucepan over medium heat, shaking often until they start turning golden then tip them out immediately so they don’t continue cooking and burn.
  • Shallot: Just one shallot adds crunch and a light onion flavour to this salad. You can use finely sliced red onion too.
  • Dressing: The lemon dressing is a mixture of fresh lemon juice (don’t use bottled), olive oil, Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard and sugar for sweetness and you’ll want to put it on every salad from here on out.

Tools you’ll need

How to make it

A collage of 4 images showing how to make rocket and parmesan salad.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Prepare the asparagus: Asparagus is simple to prepare. Give it a rinse under running water, then dry it off. Hold a spear of asparagus at both ends and bend it until it snaps – it will naturally snap where the tender part meets the woody part of the stalk. Repeat with the rest.
  2. Slice the asparagus: Slice the asparagus spears on an angle into 1 cm thick pieces (just under half an inch).
  3. Blanch the asparagus: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for just 1 minute. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water. Set aside for a minute to cool.
  4. Make the dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.
  5. Assemble the salad: Wash and dry the rocket leaves and drop them into a large bowl. Add the asparagus, pine nuts, most of the parmesan and shallots and toss gently to combine. Add the dressing and toss again lightly right before serving and top with the remaining parmesan.
Rocket and parmesan salad on a gold spoon.

Tips and tricks

  • Don’t dress the salad until you’re ready to serve or the salad will wilt.
  • Don’t like / have parmesan? You could swap the parmesan for feta or goats cheese.
  • Don’t like / have asparagus? Sliced pears or apples work beautifully in this salad too.
  • Don’t like / have pine nuts? Try broken up walnuts – delicious!
  • Don’t want to use lemon? Swap it for white or regular balsamic vinegar.
  • Don’t want to use sugar in the dressing? Swap it for honey.

Storage

This asparagus, rocket and parmesan salad can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days, undressed. Once dressed, it should be eaten immediately as the leaves will lose their crispness quickly.


This gorgeous rocket salad is perfect alongside grilled meats, schnitzel, roasted meats – pretty much anything. It’s even delicious as a standalone meal with some chicken added. And you’ll be wanting to bathe everything in the amazing lemon vinaigrette.

More recipes you’ll love

Lemon Mustard dressign being poured over rocket and parmesan salad.

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A large bowl filled with salad with a pot of dressing on the side.

Asparagus, Rocket and Parmesan Salad

5 from 2 votes
The classic rocket and parmesan salad is made even more amazing with asparagus and a gorgeous lemon dressing. Peppery rocket, tangy lemon and robust parmesan are a delicious way to showcase fresh asparagus.

Ingredients

FOR THE SALAD

  • 8-10 spears of asparagus
  • 65 g rocket (arugula) , washed and well dried (3 cups not packed)
  • 50 g shaved parmesan cheese (use a block and shave it with a veg peeler)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 small shallot finely chopped

FOR THE LEMON DIJON DRESSING

  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (notes)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Remove the woody ends of the asparagus – hold at either end and bend, it will break naturally where the woody part meets the tender part.
  • Slice the asparagus thinly on an angle.
  • Prepare a bowl of iced water and set aside.
  • Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Drop the asparagus in for one minute then use a slotted spoon to scoop it out and plunge it straight into the iced water. Set aside to cool completely.
  • FOR THE DRESSING: Add all ingredients to a jar with lid and shake well to combine.
  • ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: Don't add the dressing until you're ready to serve but everything else can be combined ahead of time.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the cooled asparagus, rocket, two thirds of the parmesan, pine nuts and shallot until well mixed.
  • Right before serving, toss with the lemon dressing and top with remaining parmesan shavings and sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I really appreciate it and it helps me create more recipes.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20 ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons).
  2. Make sure to dry the rocket well after washing.
  3. The salad can be stored, un-dressed, in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. Once dressed eat immediately – the leaves will gradually wilt once dressed so dressed leftovers will not be crisp.
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