char-grilled chopped asparagus salad with smashed pita chips

char-grilled chopped asparagus salad with smashed pita chips | The Clever Carrot

I have the unfortunate ability to remember every meal that I’ve ever eaten.

It’s a curse really. I’m not sure how or when it all started (I blame genetics), but my brain is riddled with recipes. If I’ve ever dined with you, chances are I will remember what you ate too. Going back almost 7 years ago now, I had a version of this salad at a restaurant. It was so good. All it took was a bag of pita chips to trigger my memory and then this little creation was born.

For the base, I’m using fat asparagus stalks. They’re perfect for grilling and I prefer these to the skinny ones. It’s still too cold to grill outside, so I used my trusty old griddle pan to get the job done. That char-grilled flavor is worth smoking out the kitchen.

grilled asparagus | The Clever Carrot

Roasted peppers also make an appearance in this dish. I usually have 1 or 2 jars lying around in my pantry. Oh wait, I don’t have a pantry. I have jam packed, stuffed to the brim cabinets. That’s where they live. See how I use them here + here.

roasted peppers | The Clever Carrot

And then for my latest find, fresh mozzarella pearls. I’ve never seen these before in my life! For that reason, you probably won’t be able to find them either. It was a chance find in a grocery store that I never, ever shop in. They’re super cute, just the right size, and taste just as good as they look. Whole chopped mozzarella will work too.

fresh mozzarella pearls | The Clever Carrot

Too cute, right? Told you.

char-grilled chopped asparagus salad with smashed pita chips | The Clever Carrot

Oh, and the pita chips! You know, the crunchy smashed bits I forgot to photograph? Obviously the star of the show. I’m telling you, they are the best thing that has ever happened to a chopped salad.

Tips:

  • If you don’t keep an eye on them, it is very easy to overcook asparagus. It is best to undercook them slightly as they will continue to cook once removed from the grill. 
  • Everything can be prepped in advance, including the vinaigrette up to 2 days.
  • I like to use Stacy’s Pita Chips or Trader Joe’s brand. 

char-grilled chopped asparagus salad with smashed pita chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Vinaigrette
  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ garlic clove
  • ½ c. olive oil
Salad
  • 1 bunch medium- fat asparagus stalks
  • 1x 14 oz. can of chickpeas
  • ½ c. diced roasted peppers (I used red + yellow)
  • ¾ c. fresh mozzarella 'pearls' or whole mozzarella diced
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
Garnish
  • 2 handfuls of pita chips (I used Stacy's brand)
  • ½ c. crumbled goat cheese
Instructions
  1. To make the vinaigrette, add all of the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Trim the woody ends off of the asparagus. Add the stalks to a large bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt + pepper.
  3. Warm a griddle pan or outdoor grill over moderate heat.
  4. Grill the asparagus until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes per side depending on how thick they are. Transfer to a cutting board and dice into ½ inch pieces. *See note below.
  5. Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  6. Remove the roasted peppers from the jar and pat dry with paper towels to remove the extra moisture. Dice into ½ inch pieces.
  7. To a large salad bowl, add the asparagus, chickpeas, and peppers.
  8. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently to combine.
  9. Taste the salad and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Right before serving, add the mozzarella and crumbled goat cheese.
  11. Gently smash the pita chips and crumble over the top.
  12. Serve with extra vinaigrette on the side.
Notes
* If you don't keep an eye on them, it is very easy to overcook asparagus. It is best to undercook them slightly as they will continue to cook once removed from the grill.

char-grilled chopped asparagus salad with smashed pita chips | The Clever Carrot

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Comments

    • Emilie says

      Hi Cheri! Thank you! Whenever I make a chopped salad, I try to play around with different textures and flavors- half the time it’s based on whatever I have in the fridge. The chips have to be my favorite addition though! Thank for stopping by :)

  1. Emilie says

    Hi Daniela! I think you will really like the combination of mozzarella with chickpeas- it’s lovely! And if you can get your hands on the fresh mozzarella pearls, even better. They’re exactly the same size as a chickpea! I couldn’t stop eating them out of the tub while making this. They’re incredibly good. I hope you enjoy the recipe :)

  2. says

    You are such a great recipe-creator! A true chef! Those little mozzarella balls looks insanely cute and delicious. I would never have thought to do a sort of bread salad with pita chips but it totally makes sense. Yum!

  3. says

    It’s so great that salad season is just starting up here in Canada. We hit 17C today (woohoo) and that means salads! Fresh veggies! I will try this one, we have those little pearls at Safeway here:)

  4. says

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one with a ridiculous memory for food Emilie! My husband thinks I’m a bit of a weirdo as I always remember what we ate at each restaurant months afterwards! Love the look of this charred asparagus salad. The mozzarella pearls are gorgeous and I love the idea of the crunchy smashed pita with the soft cheese and chickpeas. I will definitely give this a go (it was a worthy recipe to remember!) xxx

  5. says

    What a great recipe. I can just imagine sitting down with a little bowl of this nestled in my hand and going to town. All the texture! The crunch! Gotta love it. Well done!

  6. says

    What a beautiful salad! Now on the lookout for the tiny mozzarelle – thanks for the tip! And Stacy’s pita chips – should we discuss the difference between the amazing ones from Costco vs the meh ones from a regular grocery store?

  7. says

    How much fun. Those mozzarella purls are so adorable, but I must say that the goat cheese is more of my kinda thing :) I can’t wait for asparagus to pop up and I’m totally with ya on the smoking out the kitchen to grill up some veggies.

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