This dish just screams SPRING. Well, almost spring. I really wanted to use fresh peas, but due to the typically cold and rainy spring in Chicago, peas have yet to make an appearance at the farmer’s market. However, one of the farmers assured me that peas are on the way. Instead of fresh peas, I substituted pea tendrils (a rather lovely addition). But, if you are in a region where you are lucky enough to have a real spring, by all means use fresh peas, or even a combination of the two.

In addition to the pea tendrils, I added sauteed asparagus and green garlic to the dish.

The dressing is a lemony ginger-miso dressing. It’s much lighter than your mayo-based pasta salad and perfect for a weekend picnic.

Lastly, garnished with some purple chive blossoms (for a pop of color), lemon zest, and toasted sesame seeds.

You can use any short-length dried pasta for this pasta salad, such as trofie, orecchiette, penne, cavatelli, gnocchi, etc. Today, I used a fun and whimsical shape called trumpets, as they look like the horn of a trumpet.

Spring Pasta Salad with a Lemon-Ginger-Miso Dressing

1 pound of short-length, dried pasta (such as trofie, orecchiette
1 tablespoon olive
1/2 cup green garlic, thinly sliced (or couple cloves of garlic, minced)|
1 pound asparagus, woody ends snapped off, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound snow
Sea salt and freshly ground black
A few large handfuls of pea
4 tablespoons, mint, thinly sliced/chiffonade
lemony ginger-miso dressing (recipe below)
Zest of a lemon
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Chives and/or blossoms for garnish

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the pasta and cook until just al dente. Rinse under cold water. Drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, add the green garlic and sauté until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and snow peas, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the asparagus and snow peas are tender but still have a little bite, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Lemon-Ginger-Miso Dressing

Makes 1 ½ cups

4 1/2 tablespoons white miso
3/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons lemon juice
4 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, grated or crushed to a paste
1 1/2-inch piece of ginger (1 1/2 tablespoons) freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
pinch cayenne

In a small bowl, add all the dressing ingredients.  Whisk until the miso is well incorporated. Add a little warm water if the dressing is too thick, a tablespoon at a time.

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