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!
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!
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 🙂
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!
- 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
- Make the dressing by adding all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisking until combined. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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 🙂