I made this pasta salad for a family gathering recently. It was a perfect dish to showcase seasonal produce and it was lighter in calories than many pasta salads because the ratio of vegetables to pasta is quite high.
Speaking of pasta, have you seen the pastas that are made from beans? For this salad I used a brand that is made from garbanzo beans.
Bean based pastas are higher in protein and fiber than grain based pastas and naturally gluten free (if you have to be concerned about that.)
My favorite thing about this salad was the dressing. It’s a fairly simple vinaigrette flavored with lemon and dill. I could see using it for a potato salad or as a marinade for grilled fish or chicken. Fresh dill is best here. I don’t grow it myself but I found some at the farmer’s market and that’s actually what led me to make this recipe.
The prep work was simple. The only cooking I did was to boil the pasta. I wasn’t sure about cooking the asparagus. I didn’t think I would enjoy it raw but I wanted it to be crisp. What I ended up doing was putting the sliced asparagus in the bottom of the colander and pouring the hot pasta and water over it. I left it in the colander for a couple of minutes and then rinsed everything with cold water.
In addition to the pasta and asparagus I added thin sliced green onion, radishes, sugar snap peas, and cauliflower. And I forgot to take a picture after the cauliflower but I think you can see that this was a very pretty and colorful salad!
Here’s the recipe for my Veggie Heavy Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- Juice from 2 fresh lemons
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 8 oz. pasta (Rotini or penne work well. Try to keep vegetable pieces about the same size as the pasta you use.)
- 3 green onions, sliced thin
- 8 oz. sugar snap peas, sliced in half
- 6 large radishes, sliced (about a cup)
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 bunch asparagus, cross cut into 1″ chunks
Whisk salad dressing ingredients together. I like to do this in the bottom of the salad bowl. You can make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
Cook pasta according to package directions for “al dente”. Place cut asparagus in bottom of colander and pour pasta and cooking water over the asparagus. (This step is optional if you don’t mind completely raw asparagus). Rinse pasta with cold water and allow to drain. Add remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the dressing. Add drained pasta and asparagus to bowl and toss everything together to combine.
I’d love to hear if you try this recipe and liked it. Please let me know!