Easy enough to toss together in a hurry, this tasty Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad is great for busy weekdays, lazy weekends, and all your summer parties and barbecues!
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
Let’s do this!
Lemon Asparagus Pasta salad with Cucumber and Feta
- 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
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, approx. 9-10 minutes for al-dente.
- While the pasta boils, blanch or steam your asparagus until tender yet firm, then toss in ice water to halt the cooking process.
- Chop asparagus, cucumber, and banana peppers if desired and add to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice and set aside.
- Remove pasta from stove top, drain, rinse with cool water, and pour into your veggie bowl.
- Add dressing and top with crumbled feta a sprinkling of parmesan.
- You can even add a pinch of parsley and red pepper flakes if you're feeling feisty!
- Enjoy at room temperature.
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!
special diets and swaps
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.
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!