A dish that can only be described as springtime in a bowl, this simple butter roasted asparagus pasta salad, tossed with sun dried tomatoes, fresh lemon, and parmesan. A delightful cold pasta salad that everyone will love!
One of the best things about summer, and trust me, for me they are few, is the better price and freshness of asparagus. Roasted Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta Salad screams freshness and summer. When I first met John.e, he wasn’t a fan of asparagus at all. I was able to convince him to give it another try. Now, he’s quite fond of it.
This pasta salad was an idea I had one Sunday morning while sipping my coffee and watching reruns of Will & Grace. (That used to be a Sunday morning ritual; I can’t wait until the new shows start up again!) I knew I had some asparagus in the refrigerator, and that John.e would need something to take to work for lunch on Monday.
I knew this pasta salad would be just as fresh on Monday as it was on Sunday morning when I prepared it. The lemon juice not only adds a lot of flavour, but helps to keep the asparagus a bright green colour. You can refrigerate this pasta salad for a few days. It will last!
There were no intentions to post this Roasted Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta Salad recipe to Lord Byron’s Kitchen. But, as it turns out, it was delicious! I have made it many times since then and have perfected it. In fact, this recipe was first published to this blog in 2015. I’m updating it now with new photographs.
FRESH ASPARAGUS – GET IT WHILE YOU CAN!
Asparagus season is so short, so I try my best to get my fill of it before the season ends. There’s nothing more gratifying than purchasing in-season produce at a great price. Even though asparagus is available year-round, it can be quite expensive except for during the month of June or even early July when asparagus is cheap, abundant, and at its best.
For this dish, you want asparagus that is not too thick and not too thin. A thick asparagus will take longer to cook in order to get rid of the woodiness. Too thin and it’s going to over cooked and limp. This is exactly how I choose the right asparagus.
I find a bunch with very thin spears. Then, I find a bunch with the thickest spears I can find. Lastly, I look for something right smack dab in the middle. This is always my go-to approach for buying the right asparagus. It works for almost every recipe.
The only time I choose thin asparagus is if I’m wrapping it in something before I cook it. I will choose thick asparagus if I’m grilling it at high temperatures.
IT’S ALL IN THE FLAVOUR!
The flavour profile of this pasta salad screams summer. You’ve got the fresh asparagus that’s been roasted in butter and olive oil. There’s the saltiness of the sun dried tomatoes. We can’t forget about the freshness of the lemon zest and juice. Then there’s the bright flavours of the green onions, and of course, the addition of the grated parmesan cheese. And, as we all know, parmesan makes everything better!
Many readers have written to me telling me how much they have loved this pasta salad. And, to be honest, I’ve loved reading about how they made the pasta salad their way. One reader added chunks of grilled chicken. Another fried bacon and crumbled it into the salad. That same reader used the bacon grease to roast the asparagus in – so yum!
What will you do? Will you keep it just the way it is? Or will you change it up? And, what will you serve it with? My favourite thing to serve it with is salmon!
HERE’S SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
- Asparagus – Get a large bunch and try to get one that has similar sized spears so that they all cook evenly.
- Lemon – You will need both the juice and the zest. So, zest first!
- Pasta – Any pasta shape will do just fine.
- Green Onions – These add flavour and texture.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes – Lots of flavour here, and a little bit of chewy texture too.
- Parmesan – Grated, not shredded.
- Butter and Oils – Butter makes the asparagus taste awesome, and you will need some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes, as well as a bit of olive oil.
- Sesame Seeds – I used black, but regular white or toasted sesame seeds will do too.
HOW TO PULL IT ALL TOGETHER:
Wash and chop the asparagus into one-inch pieces. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet. Dot the asparagus with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted water. Cool the pasta completely by running under cold water. This helps to remove the starch from the pasta.
Add the cooled pasta and asparagus to a large bowl. Add the sun dried tomatoes, the oil from the sun dried tomatoes, green onions, parmesan, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and the oil/butter mixture from the baking sheet. Toss all of these ingredients together. Season with more salt and pepper to suit your tastes.
Pile the pasta salad into a large serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds, parsley, and more parmesan if you wish. Serve. So easy, right? Now, enjoy!
Roasted Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta Salad
- 1 large bunch of fresh asparagus, about 14-16 spears
- 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
- 450 grams pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
- ½ cup green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons oil, from the jar of sun dried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and chop the asparagus into one-inch pieces. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet. Dot the asparagus with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted water. Cool the pasta completely by running under cold water. This helps to remove the starch from the pasta.
- Add the cooled pasta and asparagus to a large bowl. Add the sun dried tomatoes, the oil from the sun dried tomatoes, green onions, parmesan, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and the oil/butter mixture from the baking sheet. (Use a rubber spatula to scrape the oil and butter from the baking sheet into the bowl.) Toss all of these ingredients together. Season with more salt and pepper to suit your tastes.
- Pile the pasta salad into a large serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds, parsley, and more parmesan if you wish. Serve.
- Pasta can be stored in air-tight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days.