Summer is just around the corner, and I don’t think we’ve ever been more excited.
We’re ready for the adventures of summer, even if they will be a little different this year as we all begin to step out into the world and get social again.
Pasta Salad: The Perfect Summer Dish
One thing I know for sure: this heavenly Warm Asparagus Pasta Salad will be served weekly at our house. It’s my new go-to dish for entertaining this summer! And the fact that it comes together in 30 minutes or less just makes it even more perfect.
Technically, asparagus is a spring vegetable, but I can’t help but associate it with both spring and summer, especially these days when you can find asparagus at the grocery store year-round.
The asparagus here is roasted, then tossed into spaghetti with mozzarella cubes (omit to keep this dish vegan), herbs, tomatoes, garbanzo and red kidney beans, olives—my daughter’s idea and truly genius contribution to this dish, and my favorite Creamy Balsamic Dressing.
It doesn’t get much more deliciously-summery in my book!
The Finishing Touch to This Pasta Salad
I finish this dish with my favorite finishing salt, fleur de sel.
Have you tried fleur de sel?
It’s a French finishing salt of flaky salt crystals that is perfect for just about every meal. I finish so many of my dishes with fleur de sel, but it’s especially amazing on this Warm Asparagus Pasta Salad. That final sprinkling of fleur de sel just enhances all the beautiful summer flavors here.
Give fleur de sel a try! You can find my very favorite brand on Amazon here [aff. link].
A New Summer Favorite
Make my Warm Asparagus Pasta Salad, and I’m sure it will become a repeat summer favorite!
What are your favorite summer meals?
Warm Asparagus Pasta Salad
For the asparagus:
- 7 asparagus spears, cut on the bias to 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
For the herbs and veggies:
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 11 olives, sliced (I use manzanilla, but kalamata would also be delicious)
- 1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh oregano, minced
For the Creamy Balsamic Dressing:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Vegenaise, (or mayonnaise)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cubes, (be sure to freshly cube the cheese yourself! You can also omit the mozzarella to keep this recipe vegan)
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans
- 1 15 oz can red kidney beans
- 3/4 pound spaghetti
- Fleur de sel, for finishing
Make the dressing
- In a small bowl, add the garlic, salt, and pepper, followed by the olive oil, Vegenaise, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. Now simply whisk everything together with a fork.
- Keep whisking until the dressing emulsifies. (Or comes together completely and there is no separation between the oil and the other ingredients.) This could take a minute or two, so don’t worry, just keep whisking until you get there.
- Dressing is done!
Cook the pasta and chop the veggies & herbs
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta cooks, chop the veggies, herbs, cheese, and roast the asparagus.
Roast the asparagus
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- Lay the asparagus pieces on a standard-sized baking sheet.
- Drizzle the olive oil, vinegar, and sea salt over the asparagus, then mix everything together with your hands.
- Roast at 375 degrees for 12 minutes, until the asparagus is cooked but still has a bite to it.
- Asparagus is done!
Put it all together
- One the pasta has finished cooking, drain it, and put it back in the pot.
- While the pasta is still warm, add the mozzarella cubes and dressing to the pot. (I use all the dressing, but you can start with about half, and then add more to taste.) Toss until the dressing begins to incorporate, and the cheese begins to melt.
- Now add everything else to the pot, and mix to incorporate. Tongs are a great tool here for making sure that all the veggies, herbs, and beans get evenly distributed.
Finish with fleur de sel (or sea salt)
- Finish the dish with 1/2-1 tsp fleur de sel. Start with 1/2 tsp, stir to incorporate, and taste. Leave as is if you like the salt level, or add the remaining 1/2 tsp fleur de sel.
Serve and enjoy!
- This is a filling meal all by itself, but it is also delicious when served over a bed of spinach with a side of Gardein, Beyond Meat, or your favorite meat substitute.