Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon is sure to appear many times in your spring and summer menus – as a light lunch, part of a buffet, or an inspired side to a sumptuous supper. 

This post is part of a group called Progressive Eats, a virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month is hosted by Laura Kumin, the founder of the blog Mother Would Know. We’re featuring dishes flavored with any citrus fruit. Be sure to check out all the delicious recipes at the end of this post! 

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon

Preserved Lemons – your new Favorite Condiment

Complete transparency: I live in California and I have a Meyer Lemon tree that produces lemons year round. I also co-lead a virtual cooking community called Tasting Jerusalem that focuses on ingredients of the Middle East. And, you guessed it, preserved lemons (of Moroccan descent) are frequently used in many Middle Eastern cuisines. So they are second nature to me. So much so that my husband recently admonished me when I told someone how easy it is to make this salad as though everyone has preserved lemons sitting in their fridge. So if your first thought is I don’t have preserved lemons, I don’t know where to buy them, and I don’t know how to make them, I’m here to solve that problem. By the end of this post, you’ll be wondering: Why don’t I have preserved lemons in my fridge? It might even become your new favorite condiment and source of umami in your kitchen!

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemons

How to Make Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are simply salted lemons left to sit in their own juices for about a month. It’s really that simple. Grab a quart size glass jar, some lemons that are not waxed, and some salt. Cut the lemons in quarters without cutting all the way through. Fill each lemon with kosher salt and pack them tightly in the jar. They will begin releasing juice. Then juice a few more lemons and fill up the jar to cover the lemons. Add some flavoring if you want – thyme leaves, bay leaves, a spicy red pepper. Let the jar sit on the counter for a few days shaking it once a day to be sure they are equally submerged in salty juice. Then pop them in the fridge and let them sit. At a month they are ready but will last in your fridge for at least a year. You actually use the rind to cook with but the pulp, though salty, is a great way to flavor soups and stews – just be sure to reduce the salt called for in the recipe. And the juice in the jar? Perfect for sauces, dressings, marinades, pastas and so much more.

Don’t want to make them, you can order them or buy them at a local Middle Eastern market, specialty grocery or kitchen supply store like Sur La Table. Read even more about this umami-rich condiment in this post we wrote for our Tasting Jerusalem group: When Life Gives you Lemons, Preserve Them.

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon – your new Favorite Spring and Summer Salad

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon

This simple roasted asparagus salad with preserved lemon celebrates citrus and spring. When tomato season begins, the fresh flavor of this salad will just explode. Roasting the asparagus accentuates the best of the beautiful green spears. You certainly can serve this dish on the warm side, but you don’t have to, offering the flexibility to make this ahead of time at your convenience. The fresh tomatoes complement the cooked asparagus, just as the fresh lemon juice plays counterpoint with the preserved lemons. For crunch, protein, and texture, add some toasted pistachios, slivered almonds or pine nuts. Serving as a light lunch? Add some cheese – crumbled goat or feta are both excellent options. Have some fresh herbs around such as chives or basil – add some in too, but there is plenty of flavor just from the lemon and veggies.

Hope you enjoy this roasted asparagus salad with preserved lemon and the full #ProgressiveEats menu celebrating the sweet, tart, tangy flavors of citrus.

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon and Cherry Tomatoes
5 from 9 votes
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Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon

A simple stunner of a salad using spring's and summer's bounty - asparagus and tomatoes - with a bit of winter preserved in a jar - lemons. Pistachios add crunch and goat or feta cheese add more protein and contrasting texture and color.

Course Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds asparagus trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 preserved lemon rind set pulp aside
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or use a bit of the salty pulp
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon preserved lemon juice from the jar of preserved lemons
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or 375 convect.

  2. Lay the asparagus on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle it with the olive oil, pepper, salt (or pulp), and chopped rind and toss together.

  3. Roast in the oven for seven minutes until the asparagus is tender when pricked with a fork. Thicker spears may take a bit longer, thinner spears less. Do not overcook. Set the cooked asparagus aside to cool.

  4. While the asparagus cooks and cools, slice tomatoes in half, toast pistachios (a few minutes at 325 degrees F in a toaster oven or heated in a pan will do it), and crumble your cheese if needed.

  5. Also combine the preserved lemon juice and fresh lemon juice.

  6. When the asparagus has cooled a bit, slice the spears into two inch pieces and toss in a serving bowl. When you remove the asparagus from the parchment paper, you will see a bit of juicy olive oil and some lemon rind left behind. Add it to the serving/mixing bowl. It becomes part of the dressing.

  7. Add the tomatoes and preserved and fresh lemon juice and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. Then top with the pistachios and cheese and serve. If serving later, chill the tomatoes and asparagus and hold the nuts and cheese aside until you plan to serve it.

 

A Citrus Feast

Cocktails & Other Beverages

Appetizers

Main Courses

Side Dishes

Desserts

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34 Responses to Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon

  1. Liz April 24, 2018 at 4:17 am #

    I adore preserved lemons and have a jar in my fridge waiting for this recipe! What a lovely addition to a spring menu—can’t wait to give it a try!!

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 7:41 am #

      If you have a jar then you are ready to go – hope you enjoy it!

  2. Jamie April 24, 2018 at 5:49 am #

    I’m lucky to live in France where preserved lemons are common and sold at the markets from the folks who sell olives. We do a lot of North African couscous and tagines so use a lot of preserved lemons but I never thought to use them like this… in a fresh spring asparagus salad! This is a great summer side dish! I also need to try roasting asparagus!

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 7:43 am #

      I am a huge fan of roasting veggies – even fruit! Glad I can inspire someone as creative as you to try something new!

  3. Ansh April 24, 2018 at 7:53 am #

    I love preserved lemons in salads. I love the idea and flavors of this salad. I always have preserved lemons in my pantry <3

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 10:06 am #

      And I would expect nothing less! What is your favorite way to use them?

  4. [email protected] April 24, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

    I used to always have a jar of preserved lemons in my fridge, but lately I’ve been falling down on the job. This post (and the scrumptious salad) remind me that I’ve got to get back in the preserved lemon habit. I’m so jealous of you, with a Meyer lemon tree. But at least I can share in your amazing roasted asparagus salad.

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 12:57 pm #

      Well I’m thinking you’ve been a bit busy Laura! But get back on the horse and make some. If shipping prices weren’t so high I’d send you a box of Meyers!!

  5. Karen April 24, 2018 at 1:21 pm #

    I have a tree full of lemons and have wanted to try preserving some. Thanks for the great instructions as well as a delicious sounding recipe.

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 6:40 pm #

      Do it and let me know if you have any questions!

  6. thewimpyvegetarian April 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

    Preserved lemons are indeed a wonderful ingredient, and I love the idea of using the juice in things. I’ve never even considered that, but I certainly will now! Your asparagus dish looks incredibly inviting!!

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 6:36 pm #

      The juice is so good – it will add so much zing to your incredibly creative cooking !!

  7. Jane, The Heritage Cook April 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm #

    We were on the same wavelength this month and I love the way you used nearly the same ingredients. Beautiful flavors create a totally different experience. I haven’t played with preserved lemons yet and this looks like the perfect way to start!

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

      You will love them! And you are close enough to me – if you want to plan a get-together to start a jar and use my Meyers – I am up for that! And by the way – great minds …

  8. Barbara | Creative Culinary April 24, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    Well looks like I’m a preserved lemon virgin…but that needs to change doesn’t it? I love the flavor combinations of this salad; I could eat ALL the asparagus Beth!

    • Beth Lee April 24, 2018 at 6:39 pm #

      It was a big hit at Passover esp w my nephew’s new girlfriend – I got props for being the cool cooking aunt that night

  9. Carol Borchardt April 25, 2018 at 11:57 am #

    Such a lovely spring salad! I never thought to do asparagus with preserved lemon but it’s a genius combination! With feta or goat cheese is even better!

    • Beth Lee April 25, 2018 at 12:59 pm #

      Right? Wish I had a bowl of it right now!

  10. Hannah April 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

    Oh Beth, I so envious of your year-round lemons! I grabbed the last of the Meyer lemons at my store a couple weeks ago and started a new batch of preserved lemons. Definitely a fantastic pantry staple! And I hadn’t thought to use some of the juice for dressings, etc. Excellent tip. There’s so much to love in this salad and I appreciate how versatile it is…herbs, cheese, nuts? Yes please.

    I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead! xoxoxo

    • Beth Lee April 27, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

      Planning to do some resting and catching up on stuff this weekend after a really exhausting few weeks. Some of it very good and as will always be for us, some just plain sad. We just enjoyed a special golf trip on the southern Oregon coast and then I moderated a luncheon yesterday and had a promotional table before. Put a lot of effort into preparing but definitely worth it. How is everything with you? I think, by the way, you really would love this salad.

      • Hannah April 27, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

        I’m quite sure I will love this salad!! I’ll shoot you a note and catch up. xx

  11. Coleen @ The Redhead Baker April 27, 2018 at 7:24 pm #

    How delicious! I had no idea that preserved lemons were so easy to make!

    • Beth Lee April 28, 2018 at 3:40 am #

      Yes! So easy with such a unique flavor payoff!

  12. Laura April 30, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

    I really need to get comfy with preserved lemons. I usually use lemon juice and zest all the time (even dried lemons), but never tried preserved lemons.

    • Beth Lee April 30, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

      I meant to tell people about using lemon juice and zest as a sub. You should totally start a jar – you will love them Laura – I promise.

  13. Linda July 13, 2018 at 7:08 am #

    Thank you for this awesome looking and healthy recipe! Can’t wait to try it
    Cool Kitchen Utensil

  14. Little Cooking Tips September 27, 2018 at 12:39 am #

    This is such a great salad, plus it’s super healthy! We have never tried preserved lemons before, and we will definitely use your method with the ones we get from Panos’ parents in Evia, where they have 3-4 lemon trees with lots of produce. At times, both us and they give them to friends and neighbors and still we can’t consume them all. With your method, we can keep them for the summer, which would be amazing!
    Is the flavor of the rind changed this way? Does it get sweeter and less bitter?
    We bet this salad would taste great with manouri as well (a sweeter white cheese), we can’t wait to try it out!
    xoxoxo

    • Beth Lee September 27, 2018 at 10:25 am #

      Yes the rind gets soft and less bitter. You use salt to preserve so of course they can also be salty so when you use them, either rinse them off OR don’t add additional salt to the dish. The manouri sounds like a great cheese for this salad! If you have any other questions about preserving Panos’ parents’ lemons – just drop me a note!

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