Spring Pasta Salad

Just because a barbecue is all about the grill, doesn’t mean the sides can’t shine. This pasta salad makeover combines traditional elements like whole-wheat shells and adds fresh, spring staples like asparagus, fava beans and fragrant dill. The lemon and oil-based dressing keeps it light and ensures it can stand up to the outdoors longer than its mayonnaise-based counterparts.

Spring Pasta Salad

Makes 12 servings. Per Serving: 192 calories, 4 g total fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 110 mg sodium.

  • 1 lb whole-wheat shells
  • 1 bunch (about 1 lb. asparagus)
  • 1 cup shelled fava beans (about 2 lbs unshelled beans*)
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice plus 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 oz arugula (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 tbsp sliced fresh ricotta salata
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; set aside.
  2. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Blanch asparagus by immersing it in the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes. Add shelled fava beans and boil for an additional 1 minute.
  3. Drain and plunge the beans and asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. Remove tough outer skins from beans by pinching the outer skin between your thumb and forefinger. Discard skins. Slice asparagus into 1-inch pieces. In large skillet heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. Add wine; bring mixture to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half.
  4. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, fava beans, asparagus, pasta shells, and 1 cup reserved pasta liquid and toss. Add arugula and tomatoes; toss. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Mix in lemon zest, ricotta, dill, salt and pepper.
  5. Refrigerate and serve cooled. Keeps for 3-5 days.
  6. *frozen fava beans can be substituted

Grocery List • Whole-wheat shells • Asparagus • Fava beans • Extra virgin olive oil • Red onion • Dry white wine • Lemon juice and zest • Arugula • Grape tomatoes • Ricotta salata • Dill • Salt • Black pepper

The Author:

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her href=”https://twitter.com/SonjaGoedkoopRD”>twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.




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