Spring Pasta Salad

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Spring Pasta Salad 1

I am so excited about this recipe and about the awesome weather we have been having lately!  We went on a beautiful hike this afternoon and we were able to stop at an estate sale on the way home and I picked up this fun cup!  And as soon as I finish writing this post I plan to sit outside on the porch and enjoy a tasty new gluten free beer I just discovered and a big bowl of this Spring Pasta Salad.

Spring just gets me all giddy inside!  The flowers are coming up, tiny leaves are starting to appear on trees and the birds are singing really loud.  I might not normally notice the birds as much, but Cheeto has been going a little crazy lately listening to them. 

And, with the arrival of spring, come some of my favorite ingredients.  The first one being watercress.  Watercress is peppery, delicious and so good for you.  You can find wild watercress growing on the banks of streams, but a lot of people grow it hydroponically now so you can buy it attached to the root and still growing.  Watercress has many health benefits, but the ones I really gravitate towards are that it helps aid in digestion and can be used as an anti-inflammatory, both due to the richness of vitamin C and fiber.  Watercress has also been know to work as an aphrodisiac and help cure hangovers!

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I’ve been seeing asparagus pop up in the store for a few weeks now, but this is my first time using it this season.  I feel like asparagus is one of those vegetables some people don’t like until they’ve had it prepared properly.  Until you’ve had it roasted or squeezed with lemon you haven’t given it a fair chance!  It is also packed with anti-oxidants which help neutralize free radicals and keep you feeling young.  And with how fast time seems to be moving these days I really need those anti-oxidants!

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Last, but not least, we have our sugar snap peas, which are also not only rich in anti-oxidants, but are also rich in vitamin C, B and K.  And they contain a good amount of fiber that helps keep you full longer so they make for a great crunchy snack.  And if you haven’t noticed, I am a huge fan of crunchy snacks :)

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You can’t have a good pasta salad without choosing the right pasta and I was so excited to find this new gluten free pasta at the store!  As much as I love rigatoni and penne, sometimes I just want to be able to eat fun pasta that comes in interesting shapes and until now, I haven’t found much gluten free pasta that fits that bill.  This pasta is made from brown rice and it doesn’t get mushy like some other gluten free pastas.  If you are a gluten free pasta eater you know exactly what I’m talking about!

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Spring Pasta Salad

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6
  • Category: Entree, Salad, Gluten Free, Vegan


  • 12 ounces of your favorite pasta, gluten free or regular
  • 2 cups diced asparagus, 1 inch dice
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, cut in half, measure after you cut them
  • 2 cups watercress leaves


  • A little less than 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, or honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning


  1. Make the dressing by adding all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisking until combined. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and a small handful of salt. While pasta is cooking fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Cook pasta according to package directions and when pasta has a few minutes left add the asparagus and sugar snap peas. Let cook for 30 seconds and then scoop vegetables out and submerge in ice bath. Finish cooking pasta and drain.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to a large bowl. Drain vegetables and add them to the bowl along with the watercress leaves. Drizzle in desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Adapted from my Spring Quinoa Salad


Find more Spring Recipes here.

In other exciting news, if you pick up the March/April issue of Gluten Free Living you will see my photo on the cover and 4 of my original recipes inside!!!  Pick up your copy today :)


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Spring Pasta Salad 2

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  1. says

    Congrats on being the cover girl for Gluten-Free Living Izzy! That’s awesome. Beautiful salad (but what else would I expect). So jealous of your hike and the lovely weather you are having ~ I’d give my right arm to be able to sit on my porch right now it’s been so cold! You look so nice in the photo too =) …..and your food photo is fabulous too! Ok, off to kindergarten orientation for me.

    • She Likes Food says

      Thank you so much, Laura! I think it is time for you to move your family to Arizona! I hope some perfect weather comes your way soon! And I hope you and your girls enjoyed kindergarten orientation :)

    • She Likes Food says

      I so agree with you, Becky! I love it when my food is bright and flavorful and Spring produce is perfect for that! Thank you so much :)

    • She Likes Food says

      We set up a bird feeder right outside the window so that Cheeto can watch the birds! He’s lunged at the window a few times now! Thanks, Kelly! I tend to forget about it sometimes too, but I love it so much when I do get my hands on it :)

  2. says

    Well…no flowers but I am hearing more chirping!! I love the combination of spring veggies you have, here! Beautiful salad, Izzy! And congratulations on the magazine! That is very exciting!!

    • She Likes Food says

      I hope the flowers come up soon where you are! Or at least that some spring veggies show up for you soon! Thank you so much, Annie :)

  3. says

    You are getting me SO excited for spring with this gorgeous pasta salad, Izzy! I am just loving all the green goodness you packed inside and your photos are absolutely stunning! I love the lighting. 😉
    And yeaaaa! Congrats on the magazine feature! That is just totally awesome. :)

    • She Likes Food says

      Thank you so much, Sarah!!! I hope you get some spring weather your way soon! I’ll send you some if you send me some delicious pancakes! Deal?!

  4. says

    I am getting so excited for spring too! The weather is finally starting to warm up just a bit. Love all these spring veggies in this salad, it looks so fresh and delicious! Yay, congrats on the magazine too Izzy – so exciting :)

  5. says

    YaY for spring Izzy! It’s so refreshing to hear birds singing with gusto again.. and yes, the flowers, sunshine, longer days… all enriching and energizing! I know Rob will love this pasta! And me too! There’s nothing quite as comforting as a big bowl of pasta with the freshest of greens. Peas (of all kinds) are my favorite spring ingredient! Beautiful work Izzy!

    • She Likes Food says

      So energizing!! Eric kinda liked the pasta but I think all the green stuff kinda turned him off, haha! Peas are one of my favs too, Traci!! And asparagus, and watercress… haha! I just love them all :)

  6. says

    It’s so funny because I’m still in denial that spring is here despite the good weather — it doesn’t seem like it could possibly be March yet! So when I see asparagus and peas I get so excited! This pasta salad looks fresh and delicious — spring in a bowl! :)

    • She Likes Food says

      I know! It is kinda crazy! Before we know it it will be summertime! But first I need to eat all the asparagus I can :)

  7. says

    Izzy, you’re so cute, and congrats on the magazine feature!! I just bought some asparagus from Sprouts today, so I’ll have to give this recipe a try! The best GF pasta I’ve found is by Tinkayada (sp?)…it doesn’t get mushy or gummy like you mentioned. :-) Hope you’re doing well girl!

    • She Likes Food says

      Awww, thanks Lauren!! I’m so glad that you can perfectly relate to the beautiful weather we are having and that we shop at the same grocery store!! I’ll have to keep an eye out for that pasta! I hope you’re doing well too :)

  8. says

    I don’t know why, but every time I read your cat’s name, I crack up…it’s so cute!! Is there a story about how Cheeto became Cheeto? I need to try watercress, I have never actually tried it before! This salad looks like the perfect way to welcome spring! I’m so excited that it’s finally warming up :)

  9. says

    Salads like this get me even more excited for spring! I love how green and vibrant it is.
    And nice job on the magazine feature, girly! That is such an amazing accomplishment! It must feel so cool to see your pics and recipes in a magazine. Congratulations!!

  10. says

    Congratulations on your spread in the Gluten-Free Living magazine! What an honor. And yes, this pasta looks amazing. I love watercress and this pasta shape too. Now if Spring could show up here, I’ll be set. 😉

  11. Nina says

    We made this bowl of yumminess! Dressing was amazing on it. We added some dill and basil and some cooked frozen peas. Thanks so much!


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