Asparagus White Bean Salad with Tarragon Pesto


  • 2   15-ounce cans of white, navy, or cannellini beans (or if corn is in season use one ear of fresh corn on the cob, cut from the husk instead of the second can of beans)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound of Asparagus
  • ½ cup tarragon leaves
  • 1 packed teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


Step 1: Drain and rinse canned beans. If soaking beans, do so the night before, then rinse when ready to use in recipe. The soaked beans need to be cooked.

Step 2: Cut off the tough ends on the asparagus, meanwhile, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Bring a couple inches of salted water to a boil in a large pot. When the water boils, blanch the asparagus for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, until cooked through but still firm before it loses its color.

Step 3: Transfer the asparagus to the ice bath. While the asparagus chills, put the lemon zest, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and lemon juice into a blender and blend until the garlic is chopped. Then add tarragon and the olive oil and blend until it becomes pesto – smooth and bright green but not so finely ground that you can’t see it has leaves in it.

Step 4: Pull the asparagus out of the ice water, pat it dry with a towel and slice into half-inch pieces. Put the asparagus, beans and pesto in a large bowl and toss to cover.

This is a very versatile dish – it can be used as a side dish, a dip, and/or on top of greens to add taste and texture. Enjoy!

Original recipe from the Port Huron Times Herald Newspaper.

This recipe is credited to Michael Eckert the editor.