I remember eating asparagus a couple times as a kid and not exactly loving it. I don’t think I’ve ever been a particularly picky eater, but some vegetables are just WEIRD, ya know??
If you don’t find asparagus off-putting even in the slightest, go type “how asparagus grows” into a Google image search and take a look at what comes up. That’s creepy, okay? You can’t tell me it isn’t at least a little chilling to see what looks like a small vegetable army sprouting up out of the ground like that. I’d love to have a garden one day, but I don’t see a career in asparagus farming in my future.
Regardless of whether I’m the only person uncomfortable with asparagus shoots emerging from the soil, perhaps I can relate to you on this note: Asparagus is a little tricky to cook just right. Overcooked, it’s a flimsy, floppy, soggy heap of unappetizing green strings. And sometimes it smells funny…
(Side note: We’ve learned to cope with foods that smell funny because I’m constantly doing atrocious things like roasting Brussels sprouts or cooking curry OR roasting Brussels sprouts seasoned with curry powder. Brussels sprouts and curry are what we call “lingering smells”, y’all. And lingering smells linger a bit longer when you live in a nearly-70-year-old house in which the windows have somehow lost their ability to open.)
I tell you all of this just to say that I’ve discovered my new favorite way to cook asparagus. Just blanch it. Bring a pot of water to a boil, throw in the asparagus for about a minute so it becomes tender (and a fresh shade of green!), and then remove the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. That’s it!
I’ve even gone a step further than simply cooking it by adding it to a pasta salad because I think most of us can agree that once in a while it’s a splendid idea to toss a perfectly nutritious vegetable in a bowl of pasta carbs and drown it in dressing.
If you try this Asparagus Pasta Salad at home, I’d love to hear what you think! Share pictures with me on social media by tagging @thesavvyplate on Instagram or by mentioning my page The Savvy Plate Blog on Facebook!
Asparagus Pasta Salad
This fresh and bright pasta salad made with blanched asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette is perfect for an easy side dish or a simple lunch!
- 12 oz. rotini (I used tri-colored vegetable rotini.)
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 2 tbsp minced shallots
for the dressing
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse well.
Trim any tough white sections off the ends of the asparagus, then cut the asparagus into roughly 1.5-inch pieces.
Bring a pot of water to a boil while separately preparing a bowl of ice water.
Drop asparagus pieces into boiling water and cook for about 1 minute. Asparagus should be just tender, and the color should be a brighter and fresher green than before cooking. Remove asparagus with a slotted spoon and drop the pieces into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
To make the dressing, whisk together balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, basil, oregano, and thyme in a measuring glass or small jar. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in olive oil until combined.
Add pasta, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, and minced shallots to a large bowl and combine. Toss with dressing and season with salt and pepper as desired. Cover and allow to chill in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.