This seasonal pasta salad is packed with spring veggies, al dente rotini pasta, sharp and salty feta cheese, peppery arugula, buttery, crunchy pine nuts, and fresh basil then topped with a bright lemon vinaigrette. It’s also gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and tastes amazing!
Say hello to your new favorite pasta salad for Spring!
I wanted to create a beautiful, Spring inspired pasta salad that was light and refreshing, simple in preparation, irresistible in taste, and packed with green Spring veggies.
This ticks all those boxes.
The pasta salad is made with gluten-free brown rice rotini pasta, lightly sautéed zucchini and asparagus, salty, delicious feta cheese, a pop of fresh basil, peppery arugula, & toasted buttery pine nuts, all tossed in a zippy bright lemon dressing. It’s fresh and simple and perfect for the warmer days ahead.
Let’s get to cooking.
As promised, this recipe is easy to make! First, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Rinse it and allow it to cool completely. Since this is a pasta salad, it is best served at room temperature or cold (again perfect for warmer Spring weather).
Next, you want to lightly sauté your veggies. By this I mean you want to get a slight golden-brown char on the veggies to add flavor but you still want them to maintain their crunch so they do not become soggy in the salad.
To do so, I cooked the veggies in minimal oil and in separate batches. I heated about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and first cooked the asparagus pieces. These cook fairly quickly – about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and heat the other 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add the moon shaped cut zucchini so one side is facing down in the hot oil. Without disturbing them, allow the zucchini to cook until that side achieves a slight char (about 2 minutes) and flip and allow the other side to caramelize as well. Remove from pan and allow both veggies to cool.
For the dressing, add all of the ingredients – lemon zest and juice, pure cane sugar, dijon, olive oil, and salt and pepper – and shake or stir vigorously until it is well-combined. This dressing is simple but super zippy and flavorful!
The last thing to do is combine and toss all of the ingredients. Add the cooked and cooled pasta to a large bowl. Top with the cooked veggies, feta cheese, fresh arugula and basil, and desired amount of dressing (I used it all because I like my pasta salad saucy!). Toss all the ingredients until well-combined. Top with toasted pine nuts for that buttery crunch and more basil leaves for a fancy touch.
There you have it. A simple, elegant Springtime dish with bold, bright flavors. Its sure to become your go-to for easy weeknight meals or side dish for Spring get togethers. Enjoy!
Lemony Spring Pasta Salad
This seasonal pasta salad is packed with spring veggies, al dente rotini pasta, sharp and salty feta cheese, peppery arugula, buttery, crunchy pine nuts, and fresh basil then topped with a bright lemon vinaigrette.
- 8 oz box gluten-free brown rice pasta
- 1/2 cup feta
- 1 large zucchini cut into half moons
- 1 bunch of asparagus cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 1/2 cups arugula
- Desired amount of dressing
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice and zest of one small lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons honey or cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Allow to cool.
In a salad dressing shaker or jar, add all the dressing ingredients and shake or stir vigorously until well combined.
In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Cook asparagus for 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through but still crisp.
Heat the additional 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and cook zucchini until both sides are caramelized but the zucchini is still crisp ( (about 2 minutes per side. Do not overcook it or it will become soggy in the pasta salad.
Allow veggies to cool.
Combine cooked pasta, cooked veggies, arugula, feta and desired amount of dressing and toss until all the noodles are well coated. Top with toasted pine nuts.
Serve and enjoy!