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Side, Whole Grains/Pasta/Rice, Spring |200 calories per serving|10 minute recipe

Spring Pasta Salad

This content was last updated on February 7, 2020

Just because a barbecue is all about the grill, doesn’t mean the sides can’t shine. This pasta salad makeover combines traditional elements like whole-wheat shells and adds fresh, spring staples like asparagus, fava beans and fragrant dill. The lemon and oil-based dressing keeps it light and ensures it can stand up to the outdoors longer than its mayonnaise-based counterparts.


  • 1 lb. whole-wheat shells
  • 1 bunch (about 1 lb.) asparagus
  • 1 cup shelled fava beans (about 2 lbs unshelled beans)*
  • 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice plus 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 oz. arugula (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced fresh ricotta salata
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Makes 12 servings (about ⅔ cup per serving). Per serving: 200 calories, 4.5 g total fat (.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 35 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 200 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 0 g added sugar.


  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; set aside.
  2. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Blanch asparagus by immersing it in the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes. Add shelled fava beans and boil for an additional 1 minute.
  3. Drain and plunge the beans and asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. Remove tough outer skins from beans by pinching the outer skin between your thumb and forefinger. Discard skins. Slice asparagus into 1-inch pieces. In large skillet heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. Add wine; bring mixture to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half.
  4. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, fava beans, asparagus, pasta shells, and 1 cup reserved pasta liquid and toss. Add arugula and tomatoes; toss. Drizzle with remaining 2 tbsp. oil. Mix in lemon zest, ricotta, dill, salt and pepper.
  5. Refrigerate and serve cooled. Keeps for 3-5 days.


Frozen Fava Beans can be substituted

This recipe contains cancer fighting foods:

This recipe was specially crafted to support cancer prevention and survival. It adheres to AICR's Cancer Prevention Recommendations. Learn more about our recipe guidelines.

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