Simple Asparagus Pasta Salad

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Today I’m coming clean…

I want to talk about how food bloggers really eat. In particular, I’m talking about one food blogger.

Yours truly.

(I’ll let the rest of you speak for yourselves…)

The thing is, all of those foodie glamour shots aren’t always what is really going on at my house. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not faking the photos. The food is real. But, it doesn’t always tell the whole story.

The rows and rows of perfectly frosted cupcakes? Yup, I baked those. I photographed them. But, I probably didn’t eat them all. In fact, I probably ate very few of them. (Don’t hate me, but I’m actually not much of a cupcake person. If I’m going to eat dessert, I’d rather have a brownie.)

An Instagram photo of me baking cookies for the third day in a row? Sure, I was baking.  Again. But, they were for a friend. I kept enough to sample one or two and give a few to my hubby and the kiddo, but the rest of them were promptly wrapped up and given away.

Perfect local produce from the farmer’s market? Yes, I bought it… I even prepped it and made it for dinner. But, it’s very possible that we had pizza the night before. From the local pizza shop.

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Having a food blog is a lot like raising kids.

Sure, you see a lot of photos on Facebook of everyone’s kids doing something adorable… They might be posing with a sandcastle on vacation, helping to cook dinner, or playing in the yard with the puppy. But, how often do you see a photo of the meltdown that happened right afterward? Not so often.

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Blogging is no different.

Somewhere along the line, the photos of the trendy and popular food started to take over… Given the choice between sharing another cupcake recipe and the simple salad I threw together for dinner, I have too often chosen the cupcake.

Today I am sharing the salad.

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Simple Asparagus Pasta Salad

Serves 2-4

This is one of those recipes that is very versatile. I threw together what I had on hand on a busy night… And, you can do the same. Start with some grilled veggies (whatever you have on hand), add some cooked pasta or your favorite grains (quinoa would be good here!), and toss it all with a quick vinaigrette, herbs, and cheese. Why not throw in some lettuce if you have some on hand?

For the grilled asparagus:

  • 1 bunch asparagus (approximately 1 pound)
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from remaining ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To pull the salad together:

  • ½ cup whole wheat Acini di Pepe pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • Generous handful of baby greens
  • ¼ cup crumbled queso blanco (or your favorite crumbly cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

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Start with the grilled asparagus.  Snap the tough ends off of the asparagus, and cut it on a diagonal into bite-sized pieces. Combine the asparagus, lemon juice, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the asparagus.

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Preheat the grill to medium. Once the grill is hot, transfer the asparagus to a grill basket. Grill for 2 – 3 minutes, until the asparagus is slightly charred and tender, but not mushy. Transfer the asparagus to a large mixing bowl.

To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To finish the salad, add the cooked pasta, greens, crumbled cheese, and chopped basil to the mixing bowl with the asparagus.  Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and gently toss the salad together. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

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4 Responses to Simple Asparagus Pasta Salad

  1. Love this post. Share your salad pics, your cupcake & cookie pics and especially your kid (s) and Yellow Dog pics anytime!