This vegan recipe is a light dish to enjoy in the spring and summer and can be served as a main or side dish. With tons of fresh herbs and a zesty lemon tahini dressing in place of mayo, it's loaded with flavor. A can of white beans contributes some protein.
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 2/3 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.