This zesty and fresh pasta salad works as a side or a vegetarian main dish
You know those dishes that just get better and better the longer they sit in your fridge? This is definitely one of those dishes. The more time the marinate has to soak into the fresh veggies and pasta, the tastier it gets. The lemon and thyme are perfect for spring and summer; the veggies freshen the already bright flavor and whole wheat pasta adds texture to this lemon-thyme pasta salad.
No need to cook the veggies - the acid in the lemon juice softens them. I did, however, blanch the asparagus because who wants to bite into raw asparagus, right? Another key to this really easy, highly versatile dish is to use al dente pasta. That means that you under cook it. Just like the acidity will soften your veggies, it will soften your pasta too. So to avoid a mushy pasta mess, take it out of the water while it still has a little bite to it.
Bring this lemon-thyme pasta salad to cook outs. Add chicken to make it a main dish. Or keep it vegetarian with the chick peas. It can sit out since there's no mayo, and it you keep it vegetarian, there's no meat to spoil (ughhhh, just writing that grossed me out. Spoiled meat. Yuuuuuuuuck!)
Lemon-Thyme Pasta Salad
- 3/4 box of whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 small summer squash, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 container of grape tomatoes, cut into halves
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- freshly grates Parmesan cheese to garnish
Bring a large pasta pot of water to boil; salt the water. Blanch the asparagus in the water for about 3 minutes. Drain the asparagus, set aside and cook the pasta in the same salted water, making sure to drain the pasta before it's fully cooked.
In a large bowl, add the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, zest of one lemon and juice of two lemons and whisk together. Add the vegetables and chick peas. Once the asparagus and pasta have cooled to room temperature, add to the bowl and fold together.
You can enjoy the lemon-thyme pasta salad immediately, but it's better if it has a few hours to sit so that the lemon juice can soften the veggies and adsorb into the pasta. Better yet, make it the night before you want to serve it and let it rest overnight in the fridge! It will get better with age, and keep for several days in a sealed container refrigerated.
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This lemon-thyme pasta salad basically tastes like summer in a bowl. It's so fresh! If you have an herb garden, it'd probably also be great with a little fresh parsley. Happy cooking!