Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: Varies
Finding good, solid, gluten-free pasta salad recipes that are actually healthy can be a bit of a challenge. Here is a simple pasta salad that utilizes fresh herbs, in-season asparagus and the delightful zing of lemon. Cooking the asparagus until it is finely smoky and still crisp provides a great crunch in this salad as well as providing textural interest. If you cannot find fresh herbs at your local market, you can always use dried herbs, but the flavors will be more muted if you do so. Serve this as a main course or as a side dish along with your favorite gluten-free main dishes.
- 1 (12 oz.) box gluten-free brown rice penne
- 1 lb. thin asparagus
- 1 large lemon
- 1/2 cup Veganaise
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook until al dente - do NOT overcook!
Wash the asparagus and trim off the tough ends. Grill the asparagus over a hot grill or on a stovetop grill pan until the spears are tender-crisp; do not overcook these, either. You want them to be smoky and slightly crisp. Remove them from the grill or grill pan and let cool slightly before slicing into bite-size lengths.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain well and cool the noodles using cold water. When the noodles have cooled, pour them into a large serving bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss lightly to coat. Squeeze lemon juice over the pasta and toss gently. Add the Veganaise, herbs, salt and pepper. Blend well and taste for seasonings. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
Serve immediately at room temperature when the flavors will be the most fresh and vibrant. You can also cover and chill the pasta salad, but allow it to come up to room temperature before serving.