Spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside enjoying the spring weather with this quick and delicious pasta salad!

By Brittney DesRosiers

Spring means longer days, warmer temperatures and swapping out the winter produce for fresh, spring vegetables that shine brightly in my Easy, Zingy Pasta Salad. This nutritious, zesty pasta salad takes minimal time in the kitchen, allowing you more time outside, enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine.

Asparagus and endive are in abundance this time of year. In this recipe, asparagus is boiled in the same pot as the pasta. This saves on time and cleanup, and also softens the texture to add a mild, fresh taste to the dish. This stalky green veggie is abundant in micronutrients like vitamin E, an important antioxidant that can help protect our skin and leave it looking bright and fresh this season.

Endive is a delicate, leafy vegetable that has a crisp and slightly bitter taste. It offers a soft crunch in this recipe. Although mild in flavour, this spring vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s full of vitamin C and fibre, which helps keep our digestion on track so we can enjoy lots of energy on these longer, spring days.

And, of course, a pasta salad wouldn’t be complete without the pasta! Choose good quality, organic pasta that fits your dietary needs (gluten free, etc.) in the fusilli shape for a traditional pasta salad look. Enjoying quality pasta such as brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta and organic whole-wheat can be a part of a healthy lifestyle when eaten in moderation (like everything else!). Whole grain pastas are high in fibre, helping to keep you full and fuelled for an afternoon of fun.

Frozen peas are added to this dish for a sweet flavour. They will thaw once added to the recipe but provide a cool and firm texture. Fresh peas can be used instead of frozen, if desired.

A refreshing lemon dressing tops off this pasta salad for a light and fresh taste. This dish travels well in an airtight container and can easily be brought to a spring gathering, potluck or picnic!

Easy, Zingy Pasta Salad

Serves 5-8

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked organic rice fusilli pasta
  • 10 asparagus spears, each cut into three
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 endive, shredded
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp basil, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions

  1. Bring water to boil and add pasta. Cook for approximately 8 minutes then add asparagus for an additional 2-3 minutes. Drain pasta and asparagus then run under cold water until it has cooled.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl add all pasta ingredients then add dressing. Gently mix everything together.