Easy asparagus pasta salad features fresh spring asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes tossed with a lemony-garlic-dijon vinaigrette is lip smackin delicious and ready in 20 minutes! It’s a hearty vegan pasta salad that makes a perfect healthy lunch, snack or make ahead meal idea.
There is nothing complicated here, just simple ingredients you may already have on hand, or are easily accessible. I just wanted to create an easy pasta salad for those of us who like to keep it easy and simple. But you’ll also find a few variations to spruce up the recipe to keep it varied or add extra protein.
So let’s get to it the good stuff!
Tips For The Best Pasta Salad With Asparagus
The Pasta: I’ve used a whole grain penne pasta, but just about any type of pasta will work. This pasta salad works with 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. Change up the tomatoes using cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, in place of sun-dried tomatoes for extra juiciness. If you don’t care for tomatoes, dice up a red bell pepper, it’ll add a nice sweet, fresh flavor. Shallots will be a nice change for the onion, they are a little milder in flavor, but will still add a little color. Adding fresh chopped parsley is also highly recommended.
The Dressing: The pasta salad dressing is full of lemon, garlic, and dijon, making it deliciously lip smackin good! 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.
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!
How To Make Asparagus Pasta Salad
- Start with the pasta, cook according to package instructions. When the pasta is almost done, about 3 minutes before, carefully add the asparagus in with the pasta, 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.
- Next, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Lastly, 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 until ready to enjoy!
This pasta salad is healthy, hearty, full of texture & flavor, and is perfect for sharing or eating all by yourself. Requiring only one pot to cook the pasta and asparagus, it’s super easy to make.
Make ahead 1 of 2 ways:
- 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.
- 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 pasta salad last? This asparagus pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 – 6 days.
Why I LOVE this asparagus pasta salad! It’s:
- Quick & easy to make
- Minimal ingredients
- Full of flavor
- Super versatile
- & So delicious
This would make the perfect lunch or light dinner when you want something hearty and nutritious on the table fast. I also love making it for parties and potlucks as it travels well and can be served at room temp or chilled.
If you try this vegan pasta salad recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.
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!
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 10 min
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6
- Category: Pasta, Salad
- Cuisine: Vegan
- 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)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- juice of 2 – 3 large lemons (3 – 4 tablespoons)
- 4 – 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- mineral salt, to taste
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.