When you are a picky eater as a kid you never really feel like you’re missing out on something good. At least this isn’t how I felt. Then you taste that food as an adult, and realize you were missing out the whole time! This was my experience with asparagus.
Growing up, asparagus was a vegetable that only my Dad ate. I don’t know why, but I refused to touch it. I tried it in grad school on a whim, and ever since then it’s become one of my favorite vegetables!
It’s such a versatile veggie, and always quick to prepare! I use it in all sorts of ways. I roast it with olive oil, salt, and pepper when I need a quick side. I chop it up raw to add a nice crunch to salads, and toss it into creamy pasta dishes.
Today I’m sharing a refreshing spring pasta salad using lightly steamed asparagus. I use Wegman’s Golden Jewel Blend as the base of the salad. It’s a combination of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. If you can’t find something similar you can substitute Israeli couscous or orzo.
The cooked pasta is dressed with lemon juice, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, and parsley. Chopped asparagus is added to the pot right after the pasta is cooked to steam for 5-10 minutes. This allows the asparagus to cook slightly, but still allows for a nice crunch from the veggie!
There are two important things to remember with this salad.
- First, use a good quality olive oil. This is a very simple salad, so a quality olive oil will enhance the flavors instead of detracting from them. I really love California Olive Ranch! You can’t go wrong with any of their oils.
- Second, look for asparagus with thin stalks. We aren’t actually cooking the asparagus. It is just lightly steamed from the residual heat of the cooked pasta. Thick stalks would require actual cooking to make sure they aren’t too woody. Plus, thick stalks of asparagus can be stringy and no one wants that in their salad!
Give this spring pasta salad a try, and let me know how you like it in the comments!Print
Light spring pasta salad packed with flavors of lemon, asparagus, parsley, and olive oil.
- Prepare Golden Jewel Blend and 1/4 tsp kosher salt, according to package directions.
- When Golden Jewel Blend is finished cooking, remove from heat and add in the chopped asparagus. Cover with a lid and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. *See note
- Transfer the Golden Jewel Blend and asparagus to a large bowl. Add in the lemon juice, zest, extra virgin olive oil, parsley, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- We aren’t cooking the asparagus, but just slightly steaming from the residual heat of the cooked Golden Jewel Blend. Lightly steaming the asparagus allows it to retain a nice crunch, which balances the texture of the salad. Look for thin asparagus stalks; they work much better in this dish than thick stalks.
- Category: Side Dish
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Wegmans Golden Jewel Blend, asparagus, Israeli couscous, parsley, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, California Olive Ranch, spring pasta salad, room temperature salad