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Asparagus-Spinach Pasta Salad

Fresh spinach, crunchy cashews and penne pasta are tossed with roasted asparagus to create this delightful spring salad. —Kathleen Lucas, Trumbull, Connecticut
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds uncooked penne pasta
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  • Place asparagus in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring after 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  • For dressing, combine onions, vinegar and soy sauce in a blender; cover and process. While processing, gradually add the remaining oil in a steady steam.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine pasta, spinach and asparagus. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cashews and Parmesan cheese.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Test Kitchen secret: Toasting nuts is one of the simplest and most effective ways to make food more delicious. Take a few minutes to deepen their flavor and crisp up their texture by baking in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes, or cooking in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned.
  • Love Asian flavors? Add 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil to your dressing. Swap in 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for the Parmesan cheese.Yum!
  • When topped with a grilled or poached chicken breast, this makes a satisfying and balanced main course.
  • Reviews

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    Average Rating:
    • Joy
      Apr 5, 2018

      This recipe was a hit at Easter! I will say though, it makes a LOT! So we only dressed half of it. The remainder has remained fresh in a plastic container! Again, I only dressed what we ate.

    • LBurkey
      Feb 20, 2018

      My family really enjoyed this salad. It is pretty to look at and tastes fresh and light. I did think the dressing lacked a little zip, so will try adding garlic and balsamic next time. Good salad.

    • nancyreino
      Apr 2, 2017

      We thought this was excellent. Like many others, I added minced garlic to the dressing. We will have this again!

    • char04us
      Aug 11, 2016

      This was an ok recipe. You have to eat it right away. Not to good as a leftover meal. I added fresh tomatoes from our garden.

    • zippee-0415
      Mar 27, 2016

      Awesome! As suggested in some reviews, I added garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar to the dressing. We had grilled chicken breasts with it and cut the chicken into tiny pieces to eat with the salad in each bite. I baked the asparagus for 20 minutes, it didn't look ready after 8-10 minutes. Made a lot! This tastes good cold next day, too.

    • KimandTommy
      May 27, 2015

      No comment left

    • Beema
      May 8, 2015

      I read the reviews before making this recipe, and decided to add the garlic, and I also added some horseradish. Supreme! I sized it down to serve just two; easy to do with this recipe. And for those who cannot eat nuts, not to worry.. just eliminate them and the end result is still an outstanding salad.

    • LBAlba
      Sep 21, 2014

      This has become a family side dish favorite.

    • MOTCook
      May 30, 2014

      This was a good salad but it needed a little something to make it pop. I think next time I will use some minced garlic.

    • Anderson38
      May 18, 2014

      We loved it.