Spring is finally upon us, and I couldn't be more excited! That means fresh, bright produce and lots of outdoor time, so I decided I needed a recipe that celebrates all of the above! And what screams spring time picnics more than a fresh, veggie-packed pasta salad dish?
I had recently stumbled upon Barilla ProteinPLUS pasta at my local Walmart. It's packed with 17 g of protein (per 3.5 oz portion) from all natural vegetarian ingredients including egg whites, grains, lentils, and chickpeas. It's also a great source of fiber and ALA Omega-3. It seemed like the perfect base for a quick, easy, and delicious meal any day of the week, so I ended up picking up the penne to give it a try.
I thought it would pair perfectly with some bright spring veggies like asparagus and tomatoes to make a light and fresh pasta (or pasta salad) dish while still being a good source of lean protein. I added in some lemon juice, pine nuts, basil, and a few other ingredients to bring that extra flavor, and it all came together to make a great meal or side that'd be perfect for your next picnic!
Here's What You'll Need:
-One 14.5 oz box Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne
-1 bundle of asparagus (~20 spears)
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
-1/4 cup pine nuts
-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-1/4 cup shredded or shaved parmesan
-1 tbsp EVOO
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
Serves 4 as a meal or 7 as a side or appetizer
1) Cook the Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne according to the directions on the box.
2) Remove the bottoms from the asparagus, and bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (may also grill or steam until tender instead).
3) Cut the asparagus spears into thirds.
4) Toast the pine nuts on the stove top until they begin to turn golden (about 3- 5 minutes).
5) In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients until well blended. I reserved some of the pine nuts, basil, and parmesan to top it all off, but feel free to mix it all in if desired.
6) Serve warm or refrigerate to serve as a pasta salad, and enjoy!
Barilla Gluten Free pasta was recently named one of Parent's Magazine's "Top 25 Allergy Free Foods" making it a great choice to swap in for the ProteinPLUS penne if allergies are a concern! You can also use this Ibotta link to get some cash back when purchasing your Barilla pasta. Make sure to check out these other delicious Barilla recipes and their Pinterest board for more inspiration! And let me know what you think in the comments below!