This lemony artichoke pasta salad is zesty and fresh yet also comforting and so delicious. It features simple summery flavors and your choice of grilled asparagus, broccoli or sautéed spinach depending on what you fancy. The perfect vegan summer meal, best served cold!
Keyword artichoke pasta salad, plant based, vegan,
Drain the artichoke hearts and add them to a mixing bowl. Zest one of the lemons over the top and grate the garlic cloves. Squeeze the juice from 2 lemons and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the sea salt, thyme leaves and some freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Toss to coat well and let marinate while you cook the pasta. (You can also marinate the artichokes a couple of days ahead and refrigerate covered).
2 X 14 oz cans artichoke hearts, 2 lemons, 5-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, 10 sprigs thyme, 1/2 tp sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper, zest from 1 lemon
Make the Pasta Salad
Rinse and trim the asparagus discarding any tough parts. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the asparagus. Grill until al dente and you start seeing some grill marks. Try not to overcook it, it should only take a few minutes depending on their thickness. Transfer to a cutting board and cut them into 2 inch pieces, a size similar to that of your pasta shape is ideal.
1 lb asparagus
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and season generously with sea salt. (Your pasta water should taste like the sea). Boil the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and to make sure the macaroni doesn't stick to each other.
3/4 lb cavatappi pasta
Transfer the cooked pasta to a large salad bowl together with the asparagus. Spoon the marinated artichoke hearts together with all the marinate over the top. Mix well until combined and all the pasta is nicely coated.
3/4 lb cavatappi pasta, 1 lb asparagus
Taste and adjust seasonings with more lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the basil and a pinch of red chili flakes; or your favorite add ins like vegan parmesan or feta, black olives, roasted peppers etc..
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
The Pasta - I used a short Cavatappi or corkscrew pasta here which I find goes perfectly in a salad and divine in this vegan mac and cheese. If you have a favorite short shape pasta by all means use it here, go gluten-free or whole grain or mix them all up. The most important thing is that you don't overcook the pasta, an Al Dente texture is crucial and RINSE under cold water immediately. Your pasta water should be salted well and taste like the sea or your pasta will have no flavor!
Artichoke Hearts - It's important to use the ones packed in water not oil since we are going to marinade them. I used quartered ones but you can chop them up smaller if you are going to use a smaller pasta shape. The quarters are also nice grilled if the inspiration strikes.
Asparagus - Quickly pan grilled asparagus with a little crunch perfectly balances the softer textures of the salad. It can be swapped for broccoli florets, snap peas or sautéed spinach if desired.
Add Ins + Substitutions - Just because it's a pasta salad doesn't mean you should throw everything but the kitchen sink in it; not in this one anyways. The distinct artichoke flavor can easily be overpowered by a bunch of olives or sun dried tomatoes, it's best to serve those in a bowl on the side alongside some vegan feta crumbles or mozzarella balls. Sweet marinated cherry peppers could be mixed in as they have a milder flavor and any leftover vegan chicken can be sliced up and added on top for some extra protein.
Storage - This salad travels well in a lunch box and also keeps well in the fridge in an airtight container up to a week. Make sure to remix it well before serving.