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.
Love how this recipe turned out! We substituted chickpea pasta noodles, eye-balled the chopped asparagus, sliced grape tomatoes, and sliced red onions, and then followed the numbered steps. The dressing turned out great too! I did a little less dried oregano than the recipe called for. It all came together in about 30 minutes with two people prepping ingredients. I would make this recipe again, thanks :)
You are so welcome, Caitlyn! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
Most dressings I make home made are not great so I use bottled Italian, well this one is spot on!! Super yummy pasta salad! Serving with crockpot country ribs tonight!
I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe, Jen!
Made this dressing today for my version of asparagus and pasta salad.
FANTASTIC! Super easy and I love all the oregano. Spot on Italian flavor.
It’s light and packed with flavor.
I drizzled a little over the salad prior to serving to keep the pasta from becoming gluey. Worked out good.
On my salad I added fresh basil. Oh so good on a very hot Houston day.
Amazing! I’m so glad you enjoyed the dressing recipe, Sara!
Great recipe. Whole family loved it. I’ll make it all summer.
I’m so thrilled to read this!
It was delicious and a keeper but What is a serving size? It used as a side
So glad you enjoyed it! Serving size really depends on people’s appetite! Are there other sides as well?
Made it again. We’ve got some late season asparagus here in Los Angeles. I love the recipe. Easy to do. Great flavor. Perfect for a picnic. Grate the parmesan cheese to sprinkle on when you are ready to eat. Second time with this recipe.
Woohoo! I’m thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe, Steven!
I made the triple batch of this to feed some young urban farmers. It is simple and quick enough that I was able to make it all in the field using camp stoves, and the asparagus they had just harvested. I added some bell peppers and some pan seared chicken breasts to turn it into a full meal. It was an absolute win! Even those with less adventurous palettes were delighted and came back for seconds. The triple batch fed 15 hungry people who spent the day planting, and there was plenty left for them to take home for leftovers.
This is so awesome, Murphy! I’m thrilled everyone enjoyed the pasta salad!
What I liked about the recipe. Asparagus is in season, early in the spring and it is delicious and so easy to prepare. The addition of the red flakes adds some nice “pop” to the dressing. I grated some relatively “inexpensive” Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese. That worked well. I put it in a little container ate the time of eating. Also this was easy to cut the recipe in half. Just enough for 2 people with second servings.
We had this as a picnic lunch. We didn’t need anything else. This is going to be a great go to pasta salad.
Awesome! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Steve!
Hi! We tried this for dinner this week and while I liked it I’m curious about the dressing. The recipe says its and Italian dressing and we were surprised how vinegary it was. I was just looking at your greek pasta salad with red wine vinaigrette and saw it was the same dressing recipe? Am I missing something?
thanks for any feedback!
Hi Melinda! Yes, they’re the same dressing :) You can switch up the type of vinegar or use slightly less if you prefer.
Great, simple recipe. We loved it! I halved the red wine vinegar and added more olive oil (husband is not the biggest fan of rwv). It was delicious, even my toddler ate and enjoyed the asparagus.
I’m thrilled the recipe was enjoyed by all!
Absolutely!! these 2 recipes are the greatest. The Greek Salad and the Italian Asparagus Salad! love those!
I’m thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipes, Marie!
An instant success with those I served – will become a great dish to serve to the unexpected’
I just loved it. Will that sauce freeze?
Hi Moira! I haven’t tried that but it *should* work. You may notice that there is some separation of the oil and vinegar when it thaws, but you should be able to whisk it together again to have a usable salad dressing.
Made this yesterday and just had it for lunch. Delicious!
Thank you! I made this and added black and green olives and chopped artichoke hearts. Yum!
So glad you enjoyed it!
I made your pasta salad the other day. Everyone loved it. They went back for seconds and thirds.
Amazing! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it, Nancy!
Thank you for the nice recipe.
You can’t go wrong if you follow that “equation!” Love this :)
Pasta salad with Italian dressing is seriously one of my favorite foods!! I usually make it with the Good Seasons packet but I definitely need to make your homemade one!! Love it. And p.s. you are so freaking busy!! xoxo