Pasta Salad With Asparagus

Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables.  It leads nearly all produce items in the wide array of nutrients it supplies in significant amounts for a healthy diet.  It is a rich source of folic acid.  A 5.3 oz. serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid.  Its wealth of nutrients, fiber and very low sodium and calorie content make asparagus a nutritionally wise choice for a healthy diet.

Asparagus is very low in calories, only 20 per 5.3 oz. serving, less than 4 calories per spear.  It contains no fat or cholesterol.  It is a very good source of potassium and vitamin B6.  It is one of the richest sources of rutin, a compound that strengthens capillary walls.

This is a very simple pasta salad, perfect for summer.  The leftovers make a great lunch.  Avoiding cream and mayo, I kept it simple adding only extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice for flavor.  I used tiny star-shaped pasta for this salad, which I boiled in salted water for about 5-7 minutes.  Drained and set aside.  I cut the asparagus diagonally into small pieces to match the tiny pasta.  Sauteed some diced onion, thinly sliced fresh garlic cloves, and lots of parsley, and the asparagus in olive oil.  Added salt and some crushed red pepper flakes instead of black pepper.  You can substitute the red pepper flakes with freshly ground black pepper if you like.  Tossed the warm pasta gently into the sautéed vegetables.  Drizzled extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Garnished with some more fresh parsley and done!  It is served best at room temperature.

You can substitute the asparagus with green beans.

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