This Asian inspired pasta salad is made with fresh asparagus and tossed in a creamy, flavor-packed peanut dressing made with lime juice, garlic and ginger.
When summer finally arrives in Michigan, it doesn’t take much convincing to head outdoors. Fresh air and a little Vitamin D from the sun is exactly what the doctor ordered this time of year. As an added bonus, I’ve also discovered that moving meal time outside is a blessing in disguise with my messy, food-loving toddler.
My Asian-inspired Asparagus Pasta Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing is ideal for outdoor dining, picnics, BBQ’s and more because it can be prepared in advance and holds well in the heat. In fact, I actually think it tastes better a little on the warm side. We are in the tail-end of asparagus season here in Michigan but this recipe works well with broccoli, green beans, cauliflower and more. You could pour the creamy peanut dressing on a shoe and I just might eat it.
In the spirit of al fresco dining, my friends at Black Box Wines recently challenged me to Lose the Bottle. I’ll admit, it didn’t take much for me to be on board for the challenge. Let’s be real, mama could use a little glass of vino these days.
If the phrase “boxed wine” makes you want to run in the opposite direction, I urge you to reconsider. Just as twist-off bottle caps are as popular as the traditional cork, you may be surprised to know that good quality wine can, in fact, be found in a box.
Still not convinced? Consider this:
- If you love cooking with wine but hate to open a bottle for the 1/2 cup needed in a recipe, box wine solves that problem In fact, once opened it will last for up to a month! No need to waste the rest of the bottle just for one recipe.
- One 3 liter box holds the same amount as four bottles of wine but only costs $25. That’s just $6.25 a bottle.
- Environmentally friendly, it takes less energy to produce and transport box wine than bottle. Boom.
And if I’m being honest, I usually only want one, maybe two glasses of wine in the evening but so often I hesitate opening a bottle just for myself. Black Box Wines solves that problem. Are you up for Losing the Bottle? Be sure to visit Black Box Wines to join the movement.
Where would you go if you lost the bottle? Would you go on a picnic or attend an outdoor concert in the park? Invite friends over to dine under the stars? Perhaps a date night for two on the back deck? Wherever you go, head outside, and don’t forget to bring this vibrant Asparagus Pasta Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing. It pairs perfectly with the crisp, citrusy notes of the Black Box Wines 2013 Chardonnay, btw.
Your fork is waiting.
Asparagus Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces whole wheat rotini – cooked al dente (or short cut pasta of choice)
- 1 in bunch asparagus (cut 2 inch pieces)
- 2 carrots (grated)
- ¼ cup scallions (minced)
- ¼ cup sliced almonds (toasted)
- Blanch asparagus by bringing a pot of salty water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove asparagus from the pan and immerse into a bowl of ice water. (The cold water will keep it bright green and stop the cooking process.)
- In the bottom of a large bowl, make the creamy peanut dressing by whisking together all ingredients (lime juice through sambal oelek.)
- Add cooked pasta, asparagus, carrots, scallions and toasted almonds to the bowl with the peanut dressing. Toss well until pasta is evenly coated.
- Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.