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Pasta salads have a special place in my heart, and this one has some of my favourite foods in it. Tomatoes, kalamata olives, asparagus and mustard. Yes! Mustard. I love it so much I try to sneak it into everything and this salad is not the exception. I added it to the dressing, so it is not overpowering but instead adds a lovely flavour to this light Mediterranean pasta salad.
Pasta salads are easy to make, can be adapted to anyone’s taste and are quite inexpensive. What’s not to love? This one is a lighter version and perfect for sweltering days. The fact that it is not drenched in salad dressing makes it ideal for packed lunches since it travels so well. I tend to make a larger portion of it and eat it the following day as well. If you want you can keep the dressing in a separate container and mix it just before you eat it but this one keeps well, at least in my opinion.
But let’s talk about my favourite in this pasta salad, the olives. Kalamata olives are so incredibly packed with flavour, and I can highly recommend you buy the ones that are not pitted and remove the pit yourself. It might be a little bit messy, and you won’t have perfectly sliced olives, but the flavour will be there. Don’t get me wrong I love beautiful things, and I tend to get my food Instagram ready whether I post it on social media or not. Life is too short not to celebrate every single moment, but these little olives are worth the visual sacrifice.
Since we’re talking about visuals, the next picture might look a little bit questionable, but that is exactly what you should do with your onions while the pasta is cooking. Slice them thinly and coat them with the salad dressing. This will pickle them slightly and give the dressing another depth of flavour.
Depending on the asparagus it is fine to eat it raw, especially when you get your hands on fresh green asparagus like this one. But I wanted to add some extra flavour and garlic, so I just gently sauteed it a little bit over low heat. I did this so that it softens slightly and absorbs the taste of the garlic and pepper while the pasta is cooking.
It’s worth doing this little extra step, trust me. Just look at this lovely portion and talking about portions, do tag me in your Instagram posts with #gloriathegreedyvegan if you make pasta salads. I am curious what you guys are adding to your versions.
Light Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- 175 g farfalle
- 150 g asparagus
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 150 g cherry tomatoes halved
- 50 g red onion finely sliced - about half an onion
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
For the dressing:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp agave syrup or sweetener of your preference
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 tsp mustard mild
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
- Slice the onion as thinly as possible. Mix it with the ingredients of the dressing in a bowl and set aside.
- Cook the pasta following its instructions and drain it when done.
- While the pasta is cooking, trim the asparagus to remove any dry ends but don't remove too much. You should just slice the ends off thinly - if necessary. Cut the Asparagus into pieces and place them into a pan. Add 2 tsp olive oil, minced garlic and a pinch of pepper. Saute the asparagus for a few minutes over medium heat. You want to cook it gently, so it still has a bite to it.
- Your pasta and asparagus should be done at about the same time. Add the pasta, asparagus and onions with the dressing into a large bowl and give it a gentle mix.
- Serve immediately or let it cool down fully and serve chilled. Scatter 1tbsp of freshly chopped parsley over it just before serving.