If there is one thing I have learned through studying nutrition, it is that no one diet or lifestyle is the “best.” Our bodies are all wildly different in their nutritional needs, and we have the freedom to tailer our diet to fit our specific needs. As long as whole, fresh foods from the earth make up the majority, it doesn’t matter so much if you choose to include meat, dairy, grains, legumes, etc. Focusing on quality, moderation, and learning to listen to your body are key to finding the right diet for you.
Even though I don’t follow any specific way of eating, I know a lot my friends do. I have loved watching all the creative things being done with plant-based cuisine and getting to know the vegan community that the Dallas Farmer’s Market seems to be attracting right now. So I decided to experiment with a vegan-friendly recipe that highlights the beautiful spring greens that are coming in season. I could not be more excited about the result. This pasta looks and tastes like sunshine and flowers. I mean… what better way to welcome warmer weather and longer days?
Whether you live a vegan lifestyle, are trying to cut down on your meat consumption, or just want to enjoy a side of pasta with a big juicy steak, this recipe is for everyone. I see this making its way into my Easter Sunday menu…
Vegan Spring Greens Pasta Salad
- 8 oz egg-free pasta (I used lemon garlic infused pasta from Pappardelles Pasta Co.)
- Spring vegetables of your choice (baby broccoli and asparagus as used here, or sub snap peas, green beans, leafy greens, etc.)
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 head garlic, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, minced
- 3 lemons, juiced
- 3 T. extra virgin olive or avocado oil
- 3 scallions, chopped
- pickled red onions (these are KEY)
- Broccoli sprouts
- salt + pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Once the water comes to a rolling bowl, drop the baby broccoli and asparagus in and let cook about 3 minutes, until bright green and tender-crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop directly into the ice water to stop the cooking. This is called blanching, and it helps to cook the vegetables while still preserving their color and nutrients. When the vegetables cool, chop into bite-sized pieces.
Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta. After about 8 minutes, when the pasta is just about cooked, remove and place in a colander. Run immediately under cold water.
Meanwhile, combine lemon juice, olive oil, 1/4 cup parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to make a vinaigrette.
Next, saute garlic, mushrooms, and scallions with a pinch of salt and pepper on medium-low heat until caramelized and fragrant. Add in pasta, blanched vegetables, and vinaigrette, and toss to coat. Adjust seasonings to taste. It is best enjoyed at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with more fresh parsley, broccoli sprouts, and pickled red onions.
Note: You can make this a day or two ahead. Let sit out at room temperature for a little before serving.