Spring Vegetable Salad

5 from 4 votes

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Simple, perfect, crisp-tender, this vegetarian spring salad goes with everything.

Spring Vegetable Salad

I always think of spring as the season of pale green. Little shoots coming up everywhere, buds on trees, and, of course, all of those beautiful spring vegetables, with all of those verdant jade and emerald and fern hues. This is a green spring salad recipe, but one without a leaf of lettuce.

In this recipe, the capers really add such a nice little briny punch to the dressing. I think capers are one of the best unsung hero ingredients in the kitchen. They can be added whole to the dish or chopped up so they almost blend into a dressing or sauce. And if you happen to be vegetarian (this is a vegetarian salad, by the way), they won’t rock the boat like anchovies would.

Serve this healthy salad alongside Poached Salmon with Cilantro Sauce, Simple Herbed Grilled Chicken, or, for a vegetarian dinner, Leek, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Quiche.

Spring Vegetable Salad in a white bowl.

Spring Vegetable Salad: Simple, perfect, crisp-tender, goes with everything.

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Spring Vegetable Salad Ingredients

Feel free to change up the veggies depending on what you find at the market! And if your salad doesn’t end up all green, that’s ok, too!

  • Haricots verts or green beans – Use either, trimming and slicing the beans in half.
  • Sugar snap peas – Trim and remove the string from each pea. You can use snow peas instead if you like.
  • Asparagus – Trim, then cut each asparagus spear into 2-inch pieces.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juiceFresh-squeezed lemon juice adds a citrus kick to the dressing.
  • Rice vinegar – Readily available at markets, unseasoned rice vinegar is also available online.
  • Dijon mustard – Adds a nice extra lift of flavor to the dressing.
  • Honey – For just a touch of sweetness; switch to agave for a vegan salad.
  • Capers – The salty, briny little bits make this salad dressing really special.
  • Dill – The bright, fresh flavor of this herb is perfect for spring.
  • Fennel – Sliced very thinly, the fennel is added to the salad uncooked along with the dressing.

Variations

You could add baby artichokes (canned, frozen, or fresh cooked), white asparagus, and thinly sliced white onions, or sub them in for any of the vegetables. Scallions would be nice as well. If you want to add lettuce to the mix, try spinach, arugula, or sorrel.

How to Make Spring Vegetable Salad

  1. Blanch the vegetables: Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, and have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Add the green beans, sugar snap peas, and asparagus to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, then immediately plunge the vegetables into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When cool, drain and shake off as much excess water as possible.
  2. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, capers, dill, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Toss and serve: Add the drained vegetables and the fennel and toss to coat well with the dressing. Serve at room temperature.
Spoon in a bowl of Spring Vegetable Salad.

Make-Ahead & Storage

You could make this a couple of hours ahead of time and keep it in the fridge or at room temp. It actually lasts and is delicious for days, but the lemon in the dressing starts to change up the bright green of the vegetables, making them a bit more army or khaki green in color. On the other hand, the vegetables soak up more of the tart dressing, so that’s nice flavor-wise. Just not as picture-perfect.

(You can actually see it here — my veggies sat in the dressing for a bit before we took the photo, and you can see where the edges of the asparagus started to get a little marinated. But, boy, was it good.)

Spring Vegetable Salad including green beans, peas, and fennel.

What to Serve With Spring Vegetable Salad

Plate with Spring Vegetable Salad, chicken, and pasta.
Spring Vegetable Salad with Chicken Breast and Tomatoes, Feta, and Herbed Mayonnaise Pasta Salad

More Spring Vegetable Recipes

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5 from 4 votes

Spring Vegetable Salad

Simple, perfect, crisp-tender, this vegetarian spring salad goes with everything.
Prep Time: 13 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 People
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Ingredients 

  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • ½ pound haricots verts or green beans (trimmed and halved crosswise)
  • ½ pound sugar snap peas (trimmed and de-stringed)
  • 1 pound asparagus (trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chopped capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 fennel bulb (quartered, cored and very thinly sliced)

Instructions 

  • Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Add the green beans, sugar snap peas, and asparagus to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, then immediately plunge the vegetables into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When cool, drain and shake off as much excess water as possible.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, capers, dill, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the drained vegetables and the fennel and toss to coat well with the dressing. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

You could make this a couple of hours ahead of time and keep it in the fridge or at room temp. It actually lasts and is delicious for days, but the lemon in the dressing starts to change up the bright green of the vegetables, making them a bit more army or khaki green in color. On the other hand, the vegetables soak up more of the tart dressing, so that’s nice flavor-wise. Just not as picture-perfect.

Nutrition

Calories: 168kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 64mg, Potassium: 470mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1306IU, Vitamin C: 38mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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3 Comments

  1. Confused says:

    When is the fennel added???

    1. Katie Workman says:

      with the drained vegetables! added now – sorry about that.

  2. Annie says:

    This is a fantastic salad! It’s light and fresh and crunchy, all the things you crave as Spring starts to bloom.