Well, the combination of asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and walnuts was such a hit with MD and me last week in the Stuffed Portobellos that I decided to try a similar mix to veganize a pasta salad favorite by Ellie Krieger. I'm happy to say the vegan version was a success! The tangy dressing gets its kick from red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard, which is a delicious contrast to the rich, sweet sun-dried tomatoes. And I couldn't resist adding my favorite Hot Salt for a smokin' finish. (Chilli Peppers Hot Salt is a combination of kosher salt and dried habaneros, chipotle, and tabasco peppers. It's sooo good.) This pasta can be served either chilled or at room temp. Perfect for a dish you can make in advance and serve at a lunchtime office potluck.
Pasta Salad with Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Walnuts
8 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off and sliced diagonally into chunks
3/4 cup walnut halves
9 marinated sun-dried tomato halves, diced
1 small red onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons walnut oil
2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pepper and salt or Hot Salt
fresh basil, chopped
Steam the asparagus by placing it in a steamer basket atop boiling water in a Dutch oven and cover, cooking about 5 minutes or until just tender. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse it with cold water to stop cooking and drain.
In a small dry skillet, saute the walnuts over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, to toast. Set them aside to cool, then coarsely chop.
Whisk the dressing by combining the oil, vinegar, garlic, and Dijon in a small cup.
In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, dressing, and all other ingredients. Season to taste.