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Easy Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad

Easy Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad features fresh spring asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and a garlic-dijon vinaigrette for a lip-smacking delicious side dish ready in 20 minutes!

top down view of wooden bowl with garlic lemon asparagus pasta salad.

When asparagus is in season, this delicious asparagus pasta is the best and a must-make! It’s healthy, hearty, full of texture & flavor, and is perfect for sharing or eating all by yourself.

I wanted to create an easy pasta salad for those of us who like to keep things simple and I think you’ll love how simple this pasta salad is to make.

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • It’s healthy. Full of whole food plant based ingredients, this asparagus pasta is low-fat and contains a good amount of protein, fiber, and vitamins. See the nutritional label below!
  • Minimal ingredients. It’s an uncomplicated recipe made with a handful of simple ingredients you may already have on hand.
  • It’s made in one pot. All in one pot recipes make for easy cooking and clean-up!
  • It travels well. Make it ahead for meal prep or take it along to parties and potlucks, serving it at room temp or chilled. Since it’s mayo-free you don’t have to worry about it spoiling.
top down view of ingredients used to make asparagus pasta.

Asparagus Pasta Ingredients

If you need to make changes to the recipe, here you’ll find everything you need to know! If you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask in the comments below.

The Pasta: I’ve used a protein+ penne pasta, but just about any type of pasta will work. Use any type of small pasta such as farfalle, elbow, fusilli, rotini, and Gemelli to name a few. And if following a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of options for you as well.

The Produce: Fresh asparagus is a must, but you can change up the other produce. Switch up the sun-dried tomatoes using cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, for extra juiciness. If you don’t care for tomatoes, dice up a red bell pepper, it’ll add a nice sweet, fresh flavor. Shallot or red onion will both work well. Shallots are a little milder in flavor. Adding fresh chopped parsley is also highly recommended.

The Dressing: The pasta dressing is full of lemon, garlic, and dijon, making it zesty and delicious! Feel free to use less garlic if you prefer. And if you don’t feel like making the dressing from scratch, try using a good bottled vegan Italian dressing instead. I still highly recommend adding a big squeeze of lemon over top the pasta salad before serving.

side by side photos showing the process of making asparagus pasta salad.

How To Make Asparagus Pasta Salad

Requiring only one pot to cook the pasta and asparagus, this pasta salad is super easy to make! (See below for the full printable recipe.)

  • Cook the pasta + asparagus. Start by cooking the pasta according to package instructions, adding the asparagus 3 minutes before the pasta is done so it will gently blanch. Asparagus is done when it brightens in color. Drain and rinse the pasta and asparagus under cool running water. Set aside.
  • Make the asparagus pasta dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon, dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix until the oil and dijon emulsify. Taste for flavor.
  • Assemble asparagus pasta salad. Add the pasta and asparagus back to the pot it was cooked in, add the onion and sun-dried tomatoes, and pour the dressing over top. Mix well to combine, serve as is, or chill in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy!

Top Tips

  • Use bottled dressing for ease. If you don’t feel like making the homemade lemon-garlic dressing, try using 1/3 – 1/4 cup of your favorite store bought Italian dressing or Balsamic viniagrette.
  • Looking to add more protein? Try adding a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1 cup of cooked sweet peas to your pasta salad. Even edamame would be good!

top down view of freshly made lemon asparagus pasta in a pot.

How To Make Ahead

Asparagus pasta can be made a day or two ahead using one of the methods below:

  1. Cook everything as directed, omitting the dressing until ready to serve. Keep the pasta salad stored in the refrigerator, when ready, prepare the dressing and toss it all together when ready to serve.
  2. Alternately, you can make the pasta salad as directed, store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To add moisture when ready to serve, squeeze more lemon over top.

How Long Will Asparagus Pasta Last?

This asparagus pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 – 6 days.

More Easy Pasta Recipes!

If you love pasta salads, you may also like this:

top down view of garlic lemon asparagus pasta salad.

If you try this asparagus pasta recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

EASY LEMONY ASPARAGUS PASTA SALAD

Easy asparagus pasta salad featuring fresh spring asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes tossed with a lemony-garlic vinaigrette is lip smackin delicious and ready in 20 minutes!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Pasta, Salad
  • Method: boil, mix
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 12 oz whole grain pasta (penne, elbow, farfalle, or your favorite)
  • 1 lb. asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into 1 inch length pieces
  • 1/2 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes, julienned and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped (optional)

Lemon-Garlic Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • juice of large 2 – 3 lemons (about 4 – 6 tablespoons)
  • 46 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • mineral salt, to taste

Instructions

Pasta & Asparagus: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Three (3) minutes before pasta is ready, carefully add cut asparagus and cook together, allowing the asparagus to blanch and brighten in color. Drain and rinse under cool running water, and set aside.

Dressing: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until the dijon and oil have emulsified and become creamy.

Assemble: Add the pasta and asparagus back to the pot it was cooked in. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and red onion, and optional parsley, pour the dressing over top and toss well to coat. Add more pepper to taste.

Serve: Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Store: Keep pasta salad in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 6 days.

Make ahead 1 of 2 ways:

  1. Cook everything as directed, omitting the dressing until ready to serve. Keep the pasta salad in the refrigerator, when ready, whip up the dressing and toss it all together just before serving.
  2. Make the pasta salad as directed, store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To add moisture when ready to serve, squeeze more lemon over top.

Notes

Use your favorite pasta, gluten free or not. Farfalle, penne, elbow, fusilli, rotini, and gemelli are all great.

In place of sun-dried tomatoes, use cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half. They’ll add freshness and juiciness to the pasta salad.

Try adding a colored bell peppers for sweetness, or in place of, or in addition to the tomato.

For a mellow onion flavor, diced shallots would be great!

If you have lemon-pepper on hand, that would be fantastic, adding as much as you like.

Updated: This recipe was originally published in April 2019. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in August 2021.

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5 Comments

  1. Donn Gross says:

    I am making this for the 3rd or 4th time. People love it!

  2. Looks delicious, but I’m finding one part confusing. Isn’t the juice of 2-3 large lemons much more than 3-4 tablespoons? Is it 3-4 tablespoons per lemon or 3-4 tablespoons total for the dressing? Thanks!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks for pointing that out, Kim! Use about 4 – 6 tablespoons of lemon juice (I’ve updated the recipe). Plus, it really depends on how juicy your lemons are, and if you’re a lover of lemons, feel free to add a bit more.

  3. Vegan4lyfe says:

    What a delicious recipe! It’s flavorful, wholesome and easy to make. You can add so many more ingredients as well so a versatile recipe. Thank you for the recipe!

  4. Sarah | Well and Full says:

    This salad looks so fresh and delicious! I love those sun-dried tomatoes especially :)

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