It’s officially grilling season, friends! We may not be able to have all of the get-togethers and potlucks yet, but we can still eat well. This pasta salad is the first of a three summery side dishes I have in the works for the near future.
I love pasta salads. I appreciate that there are endless delicious ways to make them. This is a perfect spring variation. It packs a lot of zip from preserved lemon and lemon juice. The asparagus is mild in flavor, but provides excellent crunch and contrast to the pasta. Arugula is tossed in at the end, which provides another punch of flavor.
This salad comes together fast. It is best served fairly shortly after it’s prepared. The arugula should be added when it’s ready to be eaten. The recipe is vegan as is, but this would also be delicious with cheese, or turned into a meal with grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
Lemony Asparagus Pasta Salad
- 8 oz pasta of choice (Linguni is pictured. )
- 1 pound asparagus
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 oz lemon juice, or a combination of lemon juice and white wine or champagne vinegar
- 3 oz mild-favored olive oil (the good stuff!)
- 1 preserved lemon
- 6 cups of arugula
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water until it is al dente. Strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Finely grate garlic cloves. Sprinkle with salt in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside while you prepare asparagus.
- Snap or cut off the woody ends of the asparagus. Cut on a thin bias. Add to a large salad bowl.
- Add lemon juice and olive oil to the garlic.
- Scoop out the flesh and seeds of the preserved lemon and discard. Mince the peel, and add it to the dressing.
- Add the pasta to the asparagus. Toss with the 4 oz of the dressing.
- If using baby arugula, there is no need to chop. If using larger arugula, chop or tear into bite sized pieces.
- When ready to serve, add the arugula to the salad, and toss with the remaining dressing as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve.
- Sub in other herbs such as parsley, chives, cilantro and/or mint for some or all of the arugula. If you omit the arugula completely, you will need less dressing.
- Add cheese! This would be fantastic with cheve, feta, or parmesan.
- If you don’t have preserved lemon, sub grated zest of two lemons.