Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus

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Who doesn’t love a fresh, healthy, delicious pasta salad? It’s really a perfect spring/summer lunch, light main course, or a side dish to any protein. This is The Organic Kitchen’s Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus. Isn’t it gorgeous?
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A platter of Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus garnished with pine nuts and feta

What’s in the Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus?

Plenty of greens, roasted asparagus, refreshing cucumbers, loads of colorful tomatoes, salty feta, fragrant basil, pine nuts and of course, pasta! You can use any pasta you wish in this salad. I usually use orecchiette, bowtie, or strozzapreti. But anything works! 

Ingredients for Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus on a cutting board

 

THE PASTA AND TIPS FOR COOKING IT:

When cooking pasta there are only a few things to remember:
1. Follow pasta box cooking instructions, they usually are right on.
2. Salt the water for flavor.
3. To keep pasta from sticking be sure to have lots of water in your pot, at least several inches above the pasta to allow room for expansion, and be sure to stir frequently.
5. Little known fact, if serving immediately, do not rinse! Just tap the colander on the sink to remove extra water.

MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE AND JUST AS GOOD:

If you live without gluten you don’t have to miss out on exceptional pasta! Jovial Foods makes the best gluten free pasta around. I am lucky enough to live by a store that carries it, but if you aren’t as lucky, you can order it here! The best thing about Jovial pasta (besides the taste and texture) is that the grains are soaked for easy digestion. That’s a really great and rare thing for a store bought pasta!

A platter of Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus on a pine table

The Dressing:

We dress this lovely salad with a light lemon vinaigrette that is whisked together in about 3 minutes. I love to add some crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat!

A white ramekin with lemon vinaigrette for Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus

HOW TO “ZEST” A LEMON:

This salad dressing calls for juice and zest. To “zest” citrus you will need a microplane. The key here is to scrape the skin of the lemon until the white is exposed and then move to a new area. The white part of the skin is bitter, so you don’t want to go too deep.

A man's hands demonstrating how to use a microplane to remove the zest of a lemon for Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus

How To Chiffonade Basil:

This salad uses fresh basil. You can simply chop it if you like, but maybe it’s time to learn a new skill? To create ribbons of basil I use a technique called a ‘chiffonade’: Simply stack your basil leaves, roll as tightly as you can and slice. You end up with thin ribbons of basil.

A woman's hands demonstrating how to chiffonade basil to be used in Pasta Salad with Greens and Asparagus

 

Love Pasta Salad and Need More Recipes?

Try my Spring Roll Spaghetti Salad with Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce!

What you need: a microplane for zesting lemon and grating garlic, and as always you will need a good knife.

An easy to make spring/summer light pasta salad that is heavy on the veggies!

Course:

dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish

Cuisine:

Italian

Keyword:

gluten free pasta, pasta salad, vegetarian

Servings: 4 servings

The salad:

  • 1 1/2
    cups
    pasta of your choice. I usually use orecchiette, bowtie, or strozzapreti. But anything works!
  • 4
    cups
    greens of your choice. I used a mix of arugula and spinach but also love baby greens and baby kale
  • 1
    cup
    cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 1
    cup
    cherry tomatoes, cut in half. I like to use a variety of colors
  • 10
    basil leaves, chopped (or see how to chiffonade above)
  • 1
    small bunch
    asparagus, cut off woody ends then cut into 2″ pieces, brushed with olive oil and roasted
  • 1/2
    cup
    crumbled feta
  • 1/4
    cup
    roasted pine nuts

The Dressing:

  • 1/4
    cup
    plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of one small lemon
  • 2
    tablespoons
    fresh lemon juice
  • 1
    small
    clove garlic, peeled and minced (or grated with microplane)
  • small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional but encouraged
  • pinch sea salt, a few turns of freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place oven rack in center position. Place medium sized pot of salted water on high heat, when it’s boiling add pasta and cook to package instructions

  2. Prepare all produce and herbs: place greens on a large platter or into a large bowl. Peel cucumber, cut in half, scrape out seeds with a spoon and dice. After washing, cut tomatoes in half and chop (or chiffonade) basil, place both in bowl with greens.

Roast Asparagus:

  1. Toss asparagus with 2-3 teaspoons olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and toss. Place in oven and roast for 8 minutes, remove from oven to cool.

Prep Salad Dressing:

  1. whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, sea salt and pepper

Put it all together:

  1. Allow asparagus to cool and bit, rinse pasta with cold water for 30 seconds. Add both to greens and vegetables, then add basil and feta, dress lightly, add pine nuts and toss. Taste, add sea salt and pepper if needed.





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