Spring pasta salad: Asparagus, basil pesto, and chive flowers

I put together this recipe one night while trying to use up the asparagus and cherry tomatoes in the fridge.

The basil pesto adds healthy fat and protein from the olive oil and nuts, making it more filling than sugar-laden salad dressings. If using store-bought pesto, aim for a high-quality brand that contains pine nuts and olive oil (rather than soybean oil and other nut blends).

Even though I call this chive flower salad, the flowers are optional. Normally I’ll make this without them, but I happened to find them growing at the edge of my garden plot. I chopped up the stems for baked potato topping and threw the purple flowers into this pasta. They add a crunchy texture and a mild garlic-onion flavour, which I really enjoy.

This makes for a tasty side dish at picnics, or as non-microwavable meal to bring for lunch at work.

Spring Pasta Salad With Asparagus, Basil Pesto, and Chive Flowers

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These measurements are an estimate. I always just eye-ball everything when making this dish. Feel free to add more or less veggies to suit your own taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked bow-tie pasta (or other bite-size pasta like penne, small shells, fusilli)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup worth)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chive flowers, whole (my preference) or pulled into pieces
  • 1-3 tablespoons high-quality basil pesto (or other pesto)

Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

While waiting for the pasta to cook, heat the oil in a wok or a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and asparagus. Cook until the asparagus is soft enough to pierce with a fork, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, add the drained pasta, the cooked onion and asparagus, and the cherry tomatoes. Add the pesto. Mix thoroughly, until all the veggies and pasta are coated with pesto. Add more pesto to taste, if desired.

Add the chive flowers and gently stir to combine.

Serve cold or at room-temperature.

Enjoy!

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