Friday, May 30, 2008

Pasta Salad with Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Walnuts

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.


  1. Ok, I want some of that Chili Peppers Hot Salt! Seriously! I was thinking of making some sort of homemade concoction similar to that salt. I have a habanero plant and I was going to dehydrate them and make a powder out of them. You and I are on the same spice wavelength.

    Doesn't it seem like sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus were made for each other? I love the addition of the walnuts for protein. Makes it a more filling meal.

    And it looks gorgeous.

  2. That looks so refreshing! I love pasta dishes with asparagus in them! I'm so hungry right now. I gotta stop looking at food blogs during the day!

  3. chili peppers hot salt sounds like just about the best spice ever! and walnuts with tomatoes, asparagus & pasta - freak'n brilliant! i love it! and i'm going to have to try this one out, too! thanks! :D

  4. This looks so delicious and perfect for our upcoming party. Thanks!

  5. Jennifer, make sure to blog on it if you come up with your own Hot Salt concoction! I'd love to see your version.

    Thanks Bianca! I've really been enjoying the local asparagus from the farmers' market each week. Picked up another bundle today!

    Jessy, you'd probably like the Hot Salt, it's killer!

    White on Rice Couple, thank you. I like dishes such as this for parties because it can be one of your make-ahead options. Welcome to my blog!


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