Served warm or hot, Salmon and Asparagus Pasta Salad is a complete meal with so much flavour and texture!
I have something very exciting to share with you, Dear Reader. I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but it’s worth mentioning again. Something big – really big! – has happened in the Thomas-Ewing household. Actually, two things!
The first thing is that McKenna is no longer practicing a vegetarian diet. She decided to become a vegetarian just over two years ago for reasons that were valid to her. She was strong-willed and didn’t pay any attention to those around her who scoffed at her vegetarian choice. To be honest, I was so proud of her, since she was so young and had made such a big decision on her own.
This past Christmas, I prepared a whole turkey for the first time in my life. I had all of the fixings on Christmas day. There was a big bowl of Herb Butter Mashed Potatoes, a platter of Savoury Roasted Carrots, a bowl of Whole Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries, some Roasted Jumbo Carrots, and also, Sauteed Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots.
Of course I also made my Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy so that we could smother all of those veggies in its goodness! So, all in all, it was a complete meal. I had even baked one of those Tofurkey’s for John.e and McKenna. The whole roasted turkey was for me and my dad.
When I placed the turkey on the table, McKenna commented that it looked and smelled so good. She decided to have just a small piece, because it was Christmas. That, Dear Reader, was the start of her rapid withdrawal from the vegetarian diet. So, blame me if you will, but I make a damn good turkey!
The second piece of news is that it took me about seven years to convince John.e to incorporate fish into his vegetarian diet. It’s been a long road with many arguments, debates, Google searches, and whatnot. But, he finally agreed. For our first fish meal, I wanted to make something that wasn’t overly fishy, so I opted for Parmesan Crusted Baked Tilapia. It was a hit!
I then incorporated some other fish recipes. I made Baked Cod Fish with Lemon and Capers, and two spicy fish recipes, which included Sriracha Lemon Garlic Tilapia and a Sriracha Honey Lime Salmon. All in all, John.e was happy with all of them.
Up next, I decided to incorporate canned fish into our weekly meal plan. I’m a sucker for canned salmon and tuna and I’m sure in the eyes of some people, that makes me seem less sophisticated when it comes to food, but quite frankly, if it’s delicious, I’m going to eat it! Salmon and Asparagus Pasta Salad was the perfect dinner option. It was so fast and easy to make and is certainly filling, healthy, and good for you.
When I came up with this pasta salad option, I decided that the salad should be eaten cold. Canned salmon is often used in cold dishes, such as dips or in sandwiches. Pasta is good cold anyway. And, I’ve never shied away from eating cold asparagus or sun dried tomatoes. So, a cold pasta salad is how the recipe below is written up.
Now, John.e, on the other hand, thought that the pasta salad had more flavour when it was warm. Once the photographs were taken for your viewing pleasure, John.e transferred some of the pasta salad to a skillet and just re-heated it until the pasta was just warmed through. McKenna also felt that the warmed version was better. (That could be due to the fact that she piled on about an additional quarter cup of parmesan cheese!)
At the end of the day, I’m just glad to be able to prepare dishes with fish – even if it is of the canned variety! It’s opened up a whole new world of dinner possibilities for me. And, it makes me super happy that I can buy canned salmon or tuna from Costco in abundance! Does anyone else get super happy because of a well-stocked pantry?
Warm or cold, or even at room temperature, Salmon and Asparagus Pasta Salad is a great dinnertime option. It’s filling and hearty, yet light and refreshing. The combination of the salmon, sun dried tomatoes, parmesan, and asparagus with the canned salmon is a delightful combination. And, of course, with a simple salt and pepper seasoning, a bit of olive oil, some dried dill and a fresh squeeze of lemon – all in all, a dish fit for a King or Queen! (And a Lord too!)
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Salmon and Asparagus Pasta Salad
- 450 grams rigatoni pasta cooked and cooled
- 16 spears asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 14 ounces canned salmon, drained, flaked, and bones removed
- 3 ounces sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1/4 cup parsley, freshly chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, (optional)
- In a pot of salted water, boil the pasta, drain well and rinse under cold water until pasta is completely cooled. Set aside.
- Next, add 8 cups of water to a pot and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a hard boil over high heat. Add chopped asparagus and reduce heat to medium-high. Stir and blanche the asparagus for two minutes.
- Remove the asparagus from the pot with a slotted spoon and place directly into a bowl of ice cold water. Set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, ground black pepper, dried dill, and dried red chili flakes.
- Add the cooled pasta and toss to combine.
- Next add in the sun dried tomatoes and asparagus. Toss together.
- Flake in the salmon; add the parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Toss lightly to combine all ingredients. Don’t over mix. Try to keep the salmon from breaking up too much.
- Garnish with parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for 2 hours to chill.
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