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Large bowl with completed pasta salad of asparagus, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, and topped with green onion.

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad


  • Author: Caitlin Self, MS, CNS, LDN
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This asparagus goat cheese pasta salad is filling and flavorful, combined with creamy goat cheese and fresh spring vegetables, making it the perfect spring pasta salad!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces (uncooked) legume pasta - 100% red lentil fusilli / rotini used here
  • salt for pasta water*
  • 8 ounces (or more) fresh asparagus
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 ounces walnuts or walnut pieces (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (log), divided 
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (more to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • herb for garnish (scallions, chives, basil, parsley, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your ingredients: Chop the sun dried tomatoes. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus and chop into pieces that are about as long as your pasta. 
  3. When the water comes to a rapid boil, add the pasta. Set a timer for about 2-3 minutes LESS than what your package recommends (so about 4-6 minutes). 
  4. When your timer goes off - add the asparagus to the pot to boil / blanch for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time.  (It might not come back to a boil, but that's okay.)
    1. If using dry sun-dried tomatoes (as opposed to those packed in oil), toss them in the pot as well for about 10 seconds before you drain the pasta. If using SDT packed in oil, skip this step.
  5. After draining, rinse the pasta and asparagus to remove the surface starches. Set aside the pasta and asparagus to cool a bit while preparing the remaining ingredients. 
  6. Prepare the walnuts: if you have walnut halves, chop them into smaller pieces. Then toast in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, or until they start to get toasty on the outside, but before they burn. (Don't walk away - nuts can burn quickly!) 
  7. Prepare the dressing: in a large bowl (or jar), combine the dressing ingredients - olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper - and whisk together or shake in a jar.
  8. When the pasta is cooled close to room temperature, stir in the dressing, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, and about half of the goat cheese (2 ounces). We will save the rest for garnishing when it is time to serve.
  9. Stir well, and taste. Adjust seasonings and flavors as desired. 
  10. When it's time to serve, crumble the remaining goat cheese on top. Squeeze over a bit more fresh lemon  juice if desired, top with fresh herbs of your choice, and serve cold or at room temperature!

Notes

  • I have also made this with 3.5 cups whole wheat rotini pasta.
  • You can also stir in some baby spinach if you want this to be a slightly more salad-y pasta salad.
  • Nutrition Label: as always, this is merely a loose estimate. Salt in the pasta water has not been included in the Nutrition Label below.
  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: asparagus, goat cheese pasta salad, pasta salad, gluten free pasta salad, healthy pasta salad

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