Asparagus & Italian-Spiced Grape Tomato Pasta Salad

Warm weather and pasta salad go hand in hand! It's a great option for a BBQ potluck, or the perfect make-ahead lunch. This recipe is overflowing with filling fiber thanks to the whole wheat pasta, asparagus, and beans. The beans also offer up a lean source of protein that will help keep you full and satisfied all afternoon long. The low-fat oil and vinegar dressing packs a serious flavour punch thanks to the addition of many herbs and spices. Feel free to play around with these and customize to your liking! Finally, this salad features an extra special ingredient: one of our newer preserves, Italian-Spiced Grape Tomatoes. I always find myself craving tomatoes this time of year, when there are still months between me and our freshly picked field-grown varieties. Fortunately, a jar of these little preserves is a wonderful placeholder. They are the perfect addition to this recipe, as they are pre-seasoned with even more herbs and spices. They are also nice and soft, and blend seamlessly into the salad.

Visit us on-farm or at a farmers’ market this week to stalk (get it?!) up on freshly-picked asparagus and other fresh produce and preserves. Mention this recipe to any of our staff, and get a special Mix & Match deal: 1 lb of asparagus and 1 jar of Italian-Spiced Grape Tomatoes for just $10!

Offer applies from today until end of asparagus season.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

Pasta Salad

2 cups whole wheat pasta noodles of your choice (macaroni works well!), dried

1 lb. asparagus, washed with ends trimmed

1 jar Thames River Melons Italian-Spiced Grape Tomatoes

¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 can beans (black beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans) drained and rinsed

Dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ tablespoon mayonnaise

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon dehydrated onions

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Dash of salt

Dash of black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash the asparagus thoroughly, then trim the ends, as they are tough and not tasty to eat! Once washed, cook the asparagus using your favourite method. You could roast it (8 minutes in a 400⁰F oven), BBQ it (8 minutes on a hot grill), or steam it (5 minutes in a steamer). Any method will do!
  2. Next, cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Don't rinse the pasta, as this decreases its ability to soak up the dressing!
  3. Once the asparagus has cooked, cut the stalks into bite-sized chunks and add them to the bowl along with the cooked pasta.
  4. Next, open the jar of Italian-spiced grape tomatoes and drain most of the liquid. Toss the tomatoes and a small amount of the remaining liquid into the salad mixture of pasta & asparagus.
  5. Open the can of beans of your choice, drain and rinse them, then add to the growing salad mixture.
  6. Crumble the feta cheese and add this to the salad as well.
  7. Finally, prepare the dressing by vigorously whisking together the oil, vinegar, and mayonnaise (which acts as an emulsifier). Once mixed well, add the spices and whisk again. 
  8. Drizzle the dressing over the pasta salad ingredients and toss the salad together.
  9. Serve right away or chill in the fridge overnight and serve the next day.
  10. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD