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Summer Pasta Salad

This gorgeous pasta salad is quick to prepare and loaded with fresh vegetables. Prepare it in advance and bring it along to backyard grilling parties, summer picnics, and family gatherings. The addition of agave brings a sweetness to the vinaigrette mix that pairs perfectly with the peppery watercress and creamy goat cheese. Serve as a tasty side dish, enjoy it with some garlic butter baguette on the side, or add grilled chicken to make it an entree-sized salad.

Ingredients

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

6 ounces dry rotini or fusilli pasta
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup Kikkoman® Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chives or green onion, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces
4 cups watercress
1 cup baby cucumber, sliced
½ cup red onion, chopped
1 cup Tricolor tomatoes, halved
4 ounces Chèvre goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, about 10 minutes. Strain and rinse pasta with cold water. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Combine olive oil, rice vinegar, agave nectar, basil leaves, chives, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small jar and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil over medium heat. Add asparagus and boil for 3 minutes. Strain and add to an ice bath for 5 minutes. Drain and blot asparagus dry with paper towel. Transfer to a large serving platter. Arrange watercress, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, and goat cheese on the platter with pasta. Pour dressing on top and gently toss with 2 large spoons.

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