An un-Italian flavored pasta salad?
Pasta salad with no olives?
A veggie-heavy pasta salad?
Pasta salad not dripping in oil?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
My intention for this dish was to put a twist on the classic Italian veggie pasta salad everyone grew up eating. I seem to have a think for lemon + dill right now, so I figured I would go with it.
I wanted to create a lighter dish packed with flavor and loaded with fresh vegetables. Something that makes you come back for 2nd’s+ 3rd’s. A dish that is great for a crowd, or to pack for your lunch all week.
To make the sauce thick + creamy I used avocado alongside extra virgin olive oil. Avocado in dressing is my new favorite trick. So much creaminess + chock-full of healthy fats.
You’ve had a long week.
So let’s get right down to business.
Lemon Dill Pasta Salad
- 8oz pasta of choice
- 3.5 cups broccoli, chopped
- 2 cups asparagus, ends trimmed + chopped
- 1.5 cups zucchini, sliced + chopped in half
- 1 large red/orange/yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup red onion, minced
- 1/2 cup sunflower/pepita/hemp seeds
Lemon Dill Dressing [use ~3/4 of the dressing]
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2.5 teaspoons garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt + more to top
- 1/2 cup dill, loosely packed
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup/honey
- black pepper
- Chop + prep all ingredients. Also get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta and a pot of boiling water set up to steam the vegetables.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, then rinse with cold water until chilled. [I used GF quinoa veggie curls – new favorite!]
- While the pasta is cooking, steam the broccoli + asparagus for 3 minutes, then add in the zucchini for 2 more minutes. Be careful not to over-steam the veggies. You want them crunchy.
- Remove and rinse with cold water, then place in a large bowl filled with water and ice [ice bath] until chilled.
- Drain the water very well and combine with the pasta, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and seeds. I used a mix of 5T sunflower seeds and 3T hemp seeds.
- In a blender/magic bullet/food processor/etc. add all of the dressing ingredients and process until smooth. Scrape the sides of the container if necessary.
- Adjust the salt/pepper/lemon if desired. I added a hefty amount of pepper.
- Starting with 3/4 of the dressing, combine it with the pasta + veggies until well coated. Add more if desired. I reserved the rest and stored it in the fridge.
- Taste and add more salt + pepper. I added about 1/4-1/2t more salt and a lot more pepper. Adjust to your liking.
- Chill in the fridge before serving and store in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days.
notes: If you don’t like dill, you can definitely sub another herb like basil. You will most likely need to adjust the amount.
You can add your favorite protein to make this a full meal, or serve it as a side dish. I pressed a block of tofu, cubed it, then tossed it with lemon juice, a little oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. No cooking needed, I just threw it right in! Also delicious with feta and/or goat cheese on top.
Enjoy the weekend!
p.s. Hi from Kenna and all 3 of her bones…silly dog.