Great pasta salad is one of life’s mysteries for a home cook. At least it has been for me the past several years.
We think of it as a dish that can be made healthier, right? Just add ALL the vegetables. Go for a vinaigerette instead of a mayo based dressing. But it never comes close to a deli pasta salad, decadent and saucy enough to get you through those veggies and qualify as a #notsaddesklunch. Some I’ve tried *cringe* aren’t even as good as the boxed stuff that so ‘suddenly’ comes together.
One solution – gently cooking (some of) your vegetables, choosing an in season ingredient to leave raw and add that freshness, and, in fact, resisting the urge to really add all the veggies. Usually I don’t go heavy on dressings, but it’s just necessary for a good pasta salad. Especially if you plan to have it leftover. This recipe has all the right elements – lightly blanched asparagus and broccolini, fresh, sweet, crunchy corn kernels at the peak of season, and a delicious and quick homemade greek dressing that packs a salty and tangy punch.
It’s such a great dish to make for a Sunday pot luck barbecue. But make extra and grill up some chicken breasts, voila! Lunch for the week. You’re welcome.
For those of you who aren’t experienced with blanching – don’t be skerred. It’s as easy as bringing a large pot of water to a boil, dumping in your veggies, and boiling them for a few minutes. Take them out with a slotted spoon and put them in a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Then, cook your pasta in the same water for extra flavor! You could also roast the asparagus and broccolini if you prefer, it would be delicious (although a heavier flavor, less on that spring veggie ‘fresh’ side). Leave them whole and drizzle with olive oil and S&P, spread out on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 10ish minutes, until they’re tender. Allow to cool and then chop up for your salad! #yum
- ¾ lb pasta of your choice (I discourage ziti, it tends to get gritty when chilled)
- ¼ white onion, finely diced
- 3 cobs fresh white or yellow corn, kernels cut off
- 1½ cups cut asparagus
- 1½ cups cut broccolini
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1¼ teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
- More feta cheese for garnish!
- Boil a large pat of water and drop in asparagus and broccolini, boil for 5-7 minutes or until just tender. Remove veggies with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl of ice water.
- Boil pasta per package directions in same pot of water, after veggies are removed.
- In a mason jar, shake all dressing ingredients together until oil and vinegar are emulsified.
- When pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a large bowl, toss together pasta, onion, corn, broccolini, and asparagus.
- Pour dressing over and toss until combined.
- Top each serving with extra feta cheese, if desired.