This vegan asparagus pasta salad recipe features sautéed asparagus pieces and creamy white beans nestled between curly fusilli pasta. It’s seasoned with fresh dill and parsley and tossed in a lemon tahini dressing. Add this healthy, no mayo option to your spring or summer menus!
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Asparagus season has begun, and I’m thrilled to share this new asparagus pasta salad recipe to celebrate! It’s the perfect light and tasty dish to enjoy al fresco on a sunny, warm day.
I also love how customizable it is. You can use different types of pasta, add other seasonings, or serve this recipe as a side or main dish.
But the best part of asparagus pasta salad is the dressing! Made from a base of tahini and lemon juice and a touch of garlic and maple syrup, it has just the right amount of zest and bittersweetness to complement the asparagus, pasta, and herbs.
This fresh dish will be on repeat in the Streit house. I hope you and yours love it just as much as we do.
How to Make Asparagus Pasta Salad
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
- In the meantime, cook asparagus in a skillet with oil until bright green and tender.
- Prep the chopped herbs and lemon tahini dressing. Drain and rinse the beans.
- Combine the pasta, asparagus, herbs, and beans in a large mixing bowl. Toss the pasta salad in the dressing, and enjoy!
Expert Tips and FAQ
Asparagus pasta salad is a super simple recipe, but I have some tips that will be helpful to you. For the full ingredients list and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Pasta: I like to use fusilli for this recipe, but penne, rotini, orzo, or bowtie pasta would also work. Avoid using spaghetti, fettuccini, or other long noodles, since they don’t work as well in cold pasta salads. Use chickpea pasta, like Banza bowties, for a gluten-free, higher protein option.
- Additions and Substitutions: Use chickpeas in place of white beans if that’s what you have on hand. You can also add feta cheese, capers, or cherry tomatoes for some more flavor. Fresh basil can be used in addition to or in place of the dill and parsley.
- Dressing: If you are planning to refrigerate the salad for a few hours before serving, only add about ⅔ of the dressing at first. Save the last third to add right before eating. This will make the pasta salad moister and more flavorful, in case it dries out in the fridge.
Should you rinse pasta for pasta salad?
Rinse pasta under cold running water after draining to prevent it from getting mushy. Cold water stops the cooking process and will also wash away any residual starch on the outside of the noodles. If you don’t rinse the pasta, it might clump together and prevent the dressing from getting distributed evenly in the pasta salad.
How do you keep pasta salad moist?
The starch in pasta soaks up the dressing, which causes pasta salad to dry out over time. For best results, make pasta salad right before serving. You can also make it earlier in the day, but you should reserve some dressing to add right before serving. I also like to add a drizzle of olive oil and fresh squeeze of lemon juice to keep pasta salad moist when eating.
How long does cold pasta salad last?
Asparagus pasta salad will keep for about 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. However, it may dry out over time.
More Veggie Pasta Recipes
If you love this asparagus pasta salad, check out these dishes. I also have a great pasta salad recipe in my cookbook.
- Vegetarian Pesto Pasta with Peas
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad
- Balsamic Caramelized Shallot Pasta
- Garlic Lemon Creamy Kale Pasta
- One Pot Pumpkin Tomato Pasta
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Asparagus Pasta Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
For the salad
- 1 pound fusilli - can sub rotini, bowtie, penne, or orzoo
- 1.5 pounds asparagus - (1 bunch); trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans - drained and rinsed
For the dressing
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 lemon - juiced
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Cold water - to thin
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent it from getting mushy.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wash the asparagus spears, pat dry, and trim the ends. Then, cut the spears into pieces approximately 2-inches long. Cook the asparagus in the skillet for about 5 to 7 minutes until bright green and tender. Remove from heat.
- In the a mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, garlic, and salt. Add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, to thin the dressing to your desired consistency.
- Combine the cooked pasta, asparagus, fresh herbs, and white beans in a large bowl. Pour the dressing onto the salad, and toss until coated. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy right away or refrigerate for up to a couple of hours before serving (see notes for tips on keeping pasta salad moist).
- Substitutions: Sub legume-based pasta, like Banza chickpea pasta, for a gluten-free and higher protein option. Chickpeas can be subbed for white beans, and fresh basil can be used in place of or in addition to the other herbs.
- Other possible additions: feta or goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, capers
- Scaling back: If you don’t want to make 8 servings of pasta salad, use half a pound of pasta instead.
- Prep ahead tips: Pasta salad can dry out over time, so it’s best to make this dish on the day that you plan to serve it. If you want to refrigerate the salad so it’s cold when you serve it, use ⅔ of the dressing when you first make it and reserve the rest to add right before serving.
- Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before eating to freshen up the salad.
Happy spring! – Lizzie
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