This post starts with an apology. My site was down today due a few behind the scene changes. Thanks to the wonderful folk at Blacknight it is up and running again. However, my last two posts for this and my Chocolate Truffle Cake and all the comments etc. disappeared. So I have recovered them and am posting them again. I hate to spam your inboxes so hopefully this won’t happen again!
At this time of year when the evenings are brighter and there’s a hint of Spring in the air, I start looking at lighter, fresh tasting ingredients. At least once a week I like a dinner that focuses on veg and this time of year is perfect for tender green vegetables that take almost no cooking. Pair them with lemon and a bit of cheese and you have a great meal in minutes. Just like this Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad.
However, I will never argue with you if you want to add a little smoked bacon!
Useful tips & links:
- This recipe is really a base recipe. That means you can add anything you like or vary the ingredients to your own tastes or to whatever is in your kitchen. Instead of asparagus you could use tenderstem or purple sprouting broccoli. Sugar snaps peas are another option and sliced radishes or crispy shallots would add a lovely crunch.
- I have kept this recipe meat free but as I said, smoked bacon would be a delicious addition. Feta cheese would also be good here. If you want to make it vegetarian, substitute the parmesan for a suitable vegetarian alternative.
- I use pasta, orzo in this case, but you could use couscous, quinoa or bulgar wheat instead.
- Flaked almonds add a lovely crunchy contrast to the salad. Hazelnuts would also be good here.
- There is nice bit of lemon flavour from the dressing but if you want more of a citrus kick, add more juice or include some lemon zest in the dressing. Mint could also be used in place of the basil leaves.
- For more spring like recipes, have a look at these recipes featuring asparagus or at this gorgeous looking Broad Beans and Goat’s Cheese Risotto from I Can Has Cook.
Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad
Serves 2 – more as a side
- 125g of orzo or any other short pasta
- 100g of broad beans
- 100g of frozen peas
- 125g of fine asparagus spears
- A handful of spinach leaves
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoons (20ml) of lemon juice, approx the juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Basil leaves, approx 10 large leaves torn
- Lightly toasted flaked almonds
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking prep the rest of the ingredients. Gently bend the asparagus spears until they snap at the woody base and discard this tough bit of the spear or keep for a stock.
- Make the lemon dressing by mixing together the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Taste and season with the salt and pepper as needed – keeping in mind the extra salt you will be adding with the cheese – and set it aside.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it and put the pan back on the heat with more salted water. When it has boiled add the frozen peas. After a couple of minutes add the broad beans and allow them to boil together for another 2-4 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and use a slotted spoon to take out and drain the beans and peas. Place the asparagus spears into the hot water and just leave them there off the heat. They will cook in a few minutes to still have a little bite, leave them for about 10 minutes if using thicker spears.
- Pod the broad beans by making a little slit in the side seam and give them a squeeze to pop out the bean.
- Put the pasta into a large bowl and add the beans, peas, asparagus, spinach and basil leaves. Pour over the dressing and give it all a good mix together. Top with shaved or grated parmesan and some toasted flaked almonds and serve warm or at room temperature.