Asparagus Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

July 9, 2020

This flavorful Asparagus Pasta Salad is made with shell pasta, fresh asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and finished with a homemade lemon herb vinaigrette!

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Sometimes you clean out the fridge and magic happens.  Last week, I gave the fridge a good clean out ahead of my latest shopping trip.  Knowing I’d be buying another three week’s worth of groceries, I decided to use up some of the groceries in our fridge to make room.  I had a bunch of asparagus, baby bella mushrooms, and some homemade sun-dried tomatoes that I desperately needed to use.  So I decided to make a pasta salad.

This time of year, when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, I like to stock the fridge with a few cold salads, including pasta salad.  Pasta salads make excellent summer side dishes or a quick lunch.  Plus, they’re one of my favorite, easiest ways to use up fresh produce!

Asparagus Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

 
In my opinion, asparagus doesn’t get enough credit for its versatility.  You can steam it, saute it, throw it on top of a breakfast tart, or even turn it into fries

To make this pasta salad, I cut the asparagus into small pieces and sauteed it with baby bella mushrooms and garlic in a little olive oil, adding the sun-dried tomatoes at the end.  I let that cool down for a bit, then added it to cooked shell pasta (I used Banza) and some chopped red onion. So simple, but so good!

I could have easily thrown a bottle of dressing or some oil and balsamic vinegar on this salad and called it a day.  But my herbs are growing like crazy right now (you should seriously see my oregano – it’s like a bush!), so I made a quick herby, lemon vinaigrette in my Blend-N-Go blender

I used about half of the vinaigrette I made and saved the rest to keep adding to the pasta salad.  As the pasta salad sits, it’s going to soak up all of that good flavor from the dressing.  I always suggest adding more dressing the next day. 

Asparagus Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Asparagus Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Ingredients

    For the pasta salad:
  • 8 oz. shell pasta
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar,
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

    For the pasta salad:
  1. Cook the pasta according to package. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  2. Once cooled, add the pasta to a large bowl with the chopped onion.
  3. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute, then add the asparagus and mushrooms, cooking just until softened. About 5-8 minutes.
  5. Then, stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, cooking for about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and allow to cool. Then, add to the pasta bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  7. For the vinaigrette:
  8. In a blender, add the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper. Blend just until smooth.
  9. Add half of the dressing to the pasta salad, reserving the other half to add to the salad, as needed.
  10. Serve salad immediately, or keep in the fridge in an airtight container.
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When it’s hot and gross outside, and the last thing you want to do is cook (it was 96 the other day, so I was thrilled to have salads in the fridge), pull out a pasta salad, toss in a protein if you desire, and you’re good to go! You’ve got lunch, you’ve got dinner, and you’ve got a veggie loaded pasta salad full of fresh flavor! 

Did you make this Asparagus Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette recipe? Share it on social media using the hashtag #livinglavidaeats. Don’t forget to tag me @lavidaholoka!

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