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Asparagus-Spinach Pasta Salad

Fresh spinach, crunchy cashews and penne pasta are tossed with roasted asparagus to create this delightful spring salad. —Kathleen Lucas, Trumbull, Connecticut
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds uncooked penne pasta
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Place asparagus in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring after 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  • For dressing, combine onions, vinegar and soy sauce in a blender; cover and process. While processing, gradually add the remaining oil in a steady steam.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine pasta, spinach and asparagus. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cashews and Parmesan cheese.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Test Kitchen secret: Toasting nuts is one of the simplest and most effective ways to make food more delicious. Take a few minutes to deepen their flavor and crisp up their texture by baking in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes, or cooking in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned.
  • Love Asian flavors? Add 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil to your dressing. Swap in 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for the Parmesan cheese.Yum!
  • When topped with a grilled or poached chicken breast, this makes a satisfying and balanced main course.