Spring has finally sprung, and farmers markets are starting to open up so it’s a great time to make this Farmers Market Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Buttermilk Dressing. It’s packed with fresh, spring vegetables, and it’s the perfect one bowl meal that makes enough for dinner tomorrow with leftovers for lunch!
Even though spring officially starts in March, we all know things don’t really get rolling until late April. The weather is sunny, warm, and absolutely perfectly gorgeous here, and word is, the snow is finally melting in other parts of the country – so let’s get ready for some lighter, fresher meals, and picnic food! How convenient that this month’s Recipe ReDux theme is al fresco dining…
Nothing makes me happier than warm evenings, a dinner that’s already made and waiting for me in the fridge, and eating out on the patio. And
maybe definitely a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc while I watch the sun set. This Farmers Market Pasta Salad is one of my favorite make-ahead meals to eat in the spring and summer because:
- it makes a huge batch
- it’s packed with protein, healthy carbs and lotsa veggies
- it tastes better each day
- and it’s kind of pretty, don’t you think?
What more could you want??
I think the key to al fresco dining, is to keep it simple, and easy to eat. That means, no knives, nothing messy or drippy, and a meal that packs lots of different food groups onto one plate -or preferably a bowl. SO much easier to manage.
I often use a lentil or chickpea pasta in my pasta salads because I like the extra protein and fiber these pastas provide. They also have a more firm texture which is just perfect for a pasta salad. If you haven’t tried them, check ’em out! There are a few different brands out there, but the one I’ve used the most is Banza. Let me know if you’ve tried one that you like.
- 1- 8 ounce package of shell pasta Chickpea or whole grain
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 pound thin asparagus ends snapped off, and spears sliced into 1-2" pieces
- 1/4 pound fresh green beans trimmed and sliced into 1-2" pieces
- 1 cup frozen sweet white corn
- 6 ounces Halloumi cheese sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1-14 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts not marinated
- 1 cup sliced radicchio
- 4 scallions sliced
- 1 1/2 cups low fat buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt nonfat or regular
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons minced herbs any combination of tarragon, dill, parsley, chives, basil
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water (about 6 cups) to a boil, and add the Banza pasta, and salt. Cook the pasta until al dente.
When the pasta is just about finished cooking, add the asparagus and green beans to the pot, and let cook for about 1-2 minutes. The vegetables should be crisp, and the pasta should be tender but not overcooked. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool.
Heat a nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat, and sear the Halloumi for about 1 minute on each side, or until golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled pasta, asparagus, green beans, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, corn, radicchio, and scallions.
Cut the grilled Halloumi into 1-inch pieces, and add it to the bowl.
Toss everything well to combine.
For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a mason jar, and shake well.
Pour about 1/2 of the dressing over the pasta salad, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.
Add additional dressing prior to serving, if needed.
This makes a large jar of dressing, and you may not need it all for this recipe. Keep any leftover dressing in the mason jar for 3-4 days to use on salad, or as a fresh vegetable dip.
Is is warm enough to eat outside yet? What’s your favorite picnic food? Have you ever tried legume pasta?
Make sure you stop by to see what the other Recipe ReDux members are cooking up to eat alfresco.