This asparagus and arugula salad with cannellini beans recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen is a delicious and healthy choice any time of year. Asparagus’s deep flavor is similar to that of cruciferous vegetables, yet it’s sweeter and more subtle. And with its crisp-tender stalks and frilly tips, its texture is more delicate. To make this standout multipurpose vegetable the center of a bright, fresh salad, choosing the right cooking method is paramount. Sautéing the asparagus briefly delivers a deep flavor and crisp-tender texture without leaching away or degrading valuable nutrients. The addition of cannellini beans adds a subtle nutty flavor and a smooth contrast to the asparagus. Arugulas peppery flavor holds up well against the other bold flavors, and a generous sprinkling of toasted walnuts rouns out the dish with nutty flavor and crunch. A zesty balsamic dressing gives the salad a decidedly Italian touch.

Quick Tips for Making this Asparagus and Arugula Salad

  • Rinsing the canned cannellini beans eliminates any slimy texture. Look for asparagus spears no thicker than ½ inch.
  • Key equipment: 12-inch nonstick skillet & an all-purpose whisk

Serves 4 to 6
Time: 35 minutes


  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1-inch lengths
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 ounces (6 cups) baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped coarse (optional)


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking; stir in onion and cook until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in asparagus, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is browned and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in beans; transfer to large plate and let cool for 5 minutes.

  1. Whisk vinegar, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl until combined.
  2. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 3 tablespoons oil.
  3. In a large bowl, toss arugula and walnuts with 2 tablespoons dressing until coated.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and divide among serving plates.
  5. Toss asparagus mixture with remaining dressing, and arrange over arugula.


This recipe is an excellent source of Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Manganese