Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad
Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad is tossed in a lemon vinaigrette with fresh asparagus, red onion, pistachios, parsley, and basil. It is the perfect side dish to grilled chicken or hamburgers or it can be enjoyed all by itself. I used Jovial Grain-free Penne Pasta for this recipe to keep it grain-free while being able to still enjoy my favorite summer side dish.
I won't lie, adopting a grain-free diet was fairly hard in the beginning. When I started, I was already gluten-free so I think that made the transition easier. The hardest part was having to give up pasta. Thankfully one of my favorite gluten-free pasta companies came out with a grain-free pasta line and let me tell you, I am in love! I can enjoy pasta night alongside my family without feeling felt out. It is so good! You can buy Jovial Grain-free Penne Pasta here.
The first step is to boil the pasta according to the directions, for about 13 minutes. After the pasta has cooked, immediately strain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
The second step is to blanch the asparagus. Chop the asparagus and cook for about 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Once cooked, strain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. The cold water will also give the asparagus a bright and vibrant look.
Toss the asparagus into the bowl with the pasta along with the chopped red onion, basil, pistachios, and parsley. Make the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the pasta and toss. Either enjoy immediately or cover and place in the fridge for later.
Should I rinse my pasta salad?
Yes! Make sure to rinse your pasta salad after it has boiled and cooked. Rinsing pasta under cold water will stop the cooking process and prevent the pasta from getting overcooked. Plus it will wash away any starches that will leave the pasta sticky.
I always like to reserve a little vinaigrette or dressing and toss it on right before serving. This will rehydrate the pasta and make sure everything is coasted well. If you make the pasta salad ahead of time, make sure it's covered well to prevent it from drying out even further.
Can you make pasta salad ahead?
Absolutely! While making pasta salad the day of is preferred, it can typically be made one to two days ahead. Reserve a small amount of the vinaigrette or dressing and toss it in the pasta salad right before serving. This will make sure the pasta salad is nice and moist.
How long is pasta salad good for?
Pasta salad can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two days. This Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad is delicious for a day or two, but be aware that the acid from the lemon juice will start to turn the asparagus a yellow color. Don'tworry, it doesn't change the flavor and the asparagus is still safe to eat.
Can I make this recipe with regular pasta?
Yes, absolutely! I am on a grain-free diet so all of my recipes are considered paleo. This recipe can be adapted to use regular, gluten-free, or lentil/bean pasta. Simply follow the cooking directions on the pasta. The rest of the recipe doesn't change.
What goes well with pasta salad?
My favorite way to enjoy pasta salads is by tossing in some roasted and cut-up chicken to make a whole meal! Quick, easy, and delicious! If that is not your thing, here are some of my favorite protein recipes to serve alongside pasta salad:
- The Best Grilled Chicken
- Beef Hamburgers
- Beef Skewers
- Grilled Mango Lime Chicken
- Baked or grilled salmon
Looking for more side dish recipes? Make sure to check out these Zucchini Fritters, Smashed Potatoes with Gremolata, and Arugula and potato salad.
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Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad
For the vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 small clove of garlic, grated
- 1 tsp stone ground mustard
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
- pinch of salt and black pepper
For the pasta salad:
- 1 box Jovial Grain-free Penne Pasta
- 1 cup chopped asparagus, about 9 stalks
- 2 tbsp chopped red onion
- 2 tbsp chopped pistachios
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- Boil some water in a large stockpot and cook the pasta according to the directions, about 13 minutes. Once cooked, strain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Shake off as much water as possible then place the pasta in a large bowl and set it aside.
- Chop the asparagus and boil in water for 2-3 minutes. The asparagus does not need to be cooked through. It's best to leave it a bit crunchy. Once cooked, place in a bowl with ice and cold water to stop the cooking process. Strain and place the asparagus in the bowl with the pasta.
- Place the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass container like a mason jar and shake. Add the chopped red onion, pistachios, basil, and parsley, to the bowl of pasta and drizzle the dressing over top. Toss and make sure everything is well coated. Serve immediately or cover and place in the fridge for later.