Skip the store-bought pasta salads in favor of a quick and easy recipe for Asparagus Pasta Salad tossed in homemade Italian dressing!
While spring and summer months may be chilled pasta salad’s time to shine, it’s hard to ignore the 365-days-a-year versatility of a classic pasta salad recipe. All you need to do it follow this basic equation:
Your favorite pasta shape + any veggies in season + homemade Italian dressing
Toss it all together with your cheese of choice and let it chill overnight for true pasta salad success. And perhaps that last point is what separates the mediocre from the masterful. One word: marinate, marinate, marinate!
This colorful classic stars the season’s peak veggies, al dente pasta and the a quick-fix red wine vinaigrette that lends big flavor without weighing down any other ingredients like creamy dressings often do.
So grab the asparagus, plus any other rainbow of veggies, and whip up this top-rated recipe, which can be enjoyed warm, at room temp or chilled for a year-round side dish winner.
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For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste (optional)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- 1 pound asparagus
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked pasta, such as penne or rotini
- 2/3 cup sliced red onions
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
- 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving
Make the dressing:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until combined. Set the dressing aside.
Make the pasta salad:
- Remove the tough stems of the asparagus then cut each spear into 1-inch pieces.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 11 minutes, then add the asparagus to the pot and cook it with pasta for 1 more minute. Drain the pasta and asparagus then rinse it with cold water.
- Transfer the pasta and asparagus to a large bowl. Stir in the onions and tomatoes. Pour the dressing over the pasta, tossing to combine, then cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours and up to overnight. When ready to serve, stir in the Parmesan cheese and enjoy cold or at room temperature.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not republish this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.