Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta

and banana peppers, and avocado oil, champagne vinegar and…. let’s just state the obvious: this salad rocks!

Easy enough to toss together in a hurry, this tasty pasta salad is great for busy weekdays, lazy weekends, and all your summer parties and barbecues!

Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta - a tasty twist on the classic pasta salad!

The chickpea has a habit of marching over to the fridge and chirping for, coincidentally, the very one thing I’ve run out of. This morning it was string cheese. The horror! As to be expected this was a hard one to explain to my mini-me. She just couldn’t fathom a world where there was not string cheese awaiting her in the fridge.

I know kid, I get it. A world without cheese is a scary place indeed!

I’m guilty of the same disbelief. When the craving for pasta salad struck I couldn’t shake it, yet I was missing all the usual suspects! I was clear out of tomatoes and bell peppers and running dangerously low on olive oil. Of course running out of ingredients has it’s perks, and improvising has lead to my favorite P&C recipes!

In fact, running out of pantry and produce staples led to [this] tasty salad, [this] wildly addictive side dish, and even my bell pepper pizzas! Talk about awesome! What’s even more awesome is that we now get to add this finger-licking pasta salad to the list! It’s light and crisp and so. flipping. good.

Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta - a tasty twist on the classic pasta salad!

Let’s do this!

Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta

Yields 6

Lemon Asparagus Pasta salad with Cucumber and Feta

9 minPrep Time

11 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 15-20 spears asparagus, trimmed
  • 5 mini cucumbers [around 2.5 cups chopped]
  • 1 cup pickled banana peppers [chopped or whole]
  • 2 cups dried ditalini pasta
  • 5 TBSP avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt plus extra to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper plus extra to taste
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • lemon zest, to taste [I used half a lemon's worth]
  • 1-2 TSBSP fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • optional: freshly grated parmesan for topping

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, approx. 9-10 minutes for al-dente.
  2. While the pasta boils, blanch or steam your asparagus until tender yet firm, then toss in ice water to halt the cooking process.
  3. Chop asparagus, cucumber, and banana peppers if desired and add to a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice and set aside.
  5. Remove pasta from stove top, drain, rinse with cool water, and pour into your veggie bowl.
  6. Add dressing and top with crumbled feta a sprinkling of parmesan.
  7. You can even add a pinch of parsley and red pepper flakes if you're feeling feisty!
  8. Enjoy at room temperature.

Notes

This salad is ready to rock your next party or picnic! Since pasta is notorious for soaking up all your yummy homemade dressing, feel free to whisk together a little extra! I like to pour a little dressing onto my salad just before serving and top it with a little bit of extra feta. So good!

http://peasandcrayons.com/2015/06/lemon-asparagus-pasta-salad-with-cucumber-and-feta.html

Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta - a tasty twist on the classic pasta salad!

substitution shenanigans:

No mini cucumbers? No problem! Simply grab an english cucumber (they’re sweet and have edible skin much like the mini cukes) or peel and seed a standard cucumber. You’ll want about two and a half cups of chopped cucumber for this salad. Easy peasy!

Though I used champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar and regular white vinegar will also work! Same goes for the oil, feel free to use your go-to for this salad! Avocado, olive, and grape seed are all awesome options. As for the pasta, any shape will work! Orzo would be fantastic and so would rotini.

Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta - a tasty twist on the classic pasta salad!

so . . . how was it?!

SO GOOD! I love my classic pasta salad but this bad boy totally gives it a run for it’s money! The lemony dressing pairs perfectly with the crisp veggies, yielding a light and refreshing salad that my friends and I could not get enough of! I can’t wait to make it again!

planning a picnic?


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13 Comments

I tried this but made a few changes. I just made 1 portion, and used wholewheat fusilli. I added 3 steamed asparagus stems, some cucumber and some cherry tomatoes. Then I mixed some extra virgin olive oil with some fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and black pepper. It was really tasty, and fresh. I’d definitely recommend it!

I love this recipe – and your others! – but is there a trick to keeping the dressing in the fridge? I saved some of this for later, and the oil separated in the dressing…it could be user error in whisking, but if there’s a trick, I’d love to hear it. 🙂

Hi Emily! I’m so glad you love it! No error whatsoever in the whisking, but instead we’re working against science here 😉 The oil will naturally separate and need to be whisked back in for temporary emulsification. To keep the dressing together, you can add an extra ingredient such as dijon mustard and/or a little mashed feta cheese. They’ll help keep the oil and vinegar from parting ways for ya and taste great too!

We left out the banana peppers and added black olives so the dish would suit our preferences. This salad was delicious! Even my daughter who swore she didn’t like sour asparagus and therefore wouldn’t like it ate thirds! Next time we’re doubling the feta though. We are cheese people to the max.

Thank you so much Donna! Cheese people are my kind of people!!! I always sneak extra feta on everything too 😉 So happy y’all enjoyed it!