Lemon Infused Gluten-Free Pasta Salad with Grilled Asparagus and Herbs

Lemon Infused Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs and Grilled Asparagus
A light, lemony vegan pasta salad. Gluten-free.

Light + Lemony Pasta Salad

To speak about something as prosaic as pasta salad seems downright ho-hum. I mean. It's just a pasta salad. It's something I tossed together with stuff I had on hand. I hadn't planned on it. I didn't spend days contemplating the ins and outs and quirks of gluten-free brown rice penne. In fact, if I'm being unabashedly honest here I rarely think about food at all.

Until I'm hungry.

Until those familiar, nagging pangs begin gnawing their pesky little way into my consciousness, distracting me from my preferred, visual nomenclature- which rarely includes anything edible.

I daydream about paint, the plight of bees, and Clint Mansell's score for Moon. I notice the temperature of light and the curve of negative space against a jar of old spoons. I think about expectations and illusions and perceptions. I ponder where my soul is taking me, tugging at me to pay attention to my life, inviting me through dreams and the random snippets of music or ideas or theories that skitter and skate and ripple the mental stream I wade in day after day, to consider time itself- if I believe in it- sliding by in a cool constant flow of now.

I rarely eat breakfast. I often forget lunch. And dinner time always surprises me. As if each day takes figuring out all over again how to live (to paraphrase the Deadwood Zen master David Milch).

This doesn't mean I don't appreciate good food. Or that I hate to cook (well, some days I am less than enthusiastic). I loathe junk food and processed food. I can't take credit for this- it's simply the way I'm built, the way my body so pointedly rejects any easy, packaged fix.

Even before I discovered gluten intolerance and FODMAPs I knew on some instinctual level that in order to keep this body of mine healthy and strong for the here and now I have to pay it some attention. I know I have to eat. And eat consciously.

And so I find myself rummaging in the little white painted cupboard that is my pantry.

And I find a box of brown rice penne.

In the fridge I locate a fistful of spring asparagus.

One lemon.

A few sprigs of dill, marjoram, parsley and mint.

The rest is history.

Now in my belly.

Fuel for instigating thoughts of rebirth, fragility, and the particular pink that is ranunculus.

Lemon Infused Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs and Grilled Asparagus
Brown rice penne make this pasta salad gluten-free.

Lemon Infused Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs and Grilled Asparagus
Pink ranunculus on my spring table.

Lemon Infused Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs and Grilled Asparagus
Fresh herbs and grilled asparagus accent this lemony pasta salad.

Karina's Lemon Infused Pasta Salad Recipe with Fresh Herbs and Grilled Asparagus

Recipe posted April 2012.

This light and lemony gluten-free vegan pasta salad recipe is easy to toss together- yet elegant enough to serve at your next party or picnic with family and friends.


1 12-oz. box gluten-free penne
1 1-lb. bunch thin asparagus
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 large juicy lemon
1/2 cup Vegenaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
Sea salt
Black pepper, freshly ground


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and stir in the brown rice penne. Cook until tender, but still al dente. Do not over-cook.

Wash the asparagus. Trim off tough ends. Grill in a grill pan (or on a hot grill) until the spears are tender-crisp- don't over-cook these babies. You want them smoky and slightly crisp. Remove them from the grill pan or grill and let them cool a bit. Slice them into bite-size lengths.

When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain well and pour into a large bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, toss lightly to coat. Squeeze lemon juice all over the pasta and toss gently. Add the Vegenaise, asparagus, and fresh chopped herbs. Season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Again, toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately at room temperature when the flavors are fresh and vibrant. This will insure the best texture.

If you must make it ahead of time- cover and chill. But before serving, allow the pasta salad to come up to room temperature for best flavor. Gluten-free pasta becomes stiff when chilled.

Serves six.

Prep time: 30 minutes

 photo Print-Recipe.png

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you.

xox Karina


Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan said...

beautiful! So simple and fresh. Asparagus is soo good with pasta

Amber said...

Just beautiful. Our best ideas often grow from necessity. Creativity is prompted to engage!

Be Well,

Marissa said...

This looks beyond delicious . . . at a recent family dinner, my grandmother made pasta salad and I forlornly passed it on. I'll be making your recipe soon to satisfy my craving.

Question, though: could I substitute your olive-oil mayo for the Vegenaise?

Kalyn said...

We're on the same wavelength because I recently made a very lemony pasta salad as well. I do love the idea of asparagus in pasta salad!

Lisa said...

That sounds delicious! My son is GF, and my husband, who isn't, prefers brown rice pasta, which I can purchase at WinCo in bulk. I just have a question: how do you keep the pasta from getting hard and rather disgusting when cold? I have had success reheating leftover rice pasta, but cold it is rather uninviting. Unlike wheat pasts, which stays soft even when cold. This has discouraged me from making pasta salad--especially the leftovers part, or making it for church (since my husband doesn't care for pasta salad anyway). Any ideas?

Karina Allrich said...

Thanks, Beauties, for the kind words and feedback.

I love Vegenaise- its creamy mild taste, and healthy fat- but you can use your favorite tasting mayo, if you like. Just balance it with lemon juice and herbs, black pepper.

And yes- cooked gluten-free pasta does tend to get hard when cold. I use Lundberg Farms penne which seems to hold up better. And as I mention in the recipe, this is best eaten soon after making, I think. But if you do chill it, let it come to room temp before serving. One reason why I use Vegenaise- it's a safer "mayo" because there's no egg to worry about.

xox Karina

reformedfoodie.com said...

This sounds amazing! I recently tried quinoa pasta as another GF alternative to the usual brown rice pasta. It was a really nice change - I will be giving this recipe a spin very soon:)

The Head Caterer said...

This looks delicious, can't wait to try this out. I've never tried vegenaise before.

schumt said...

Since I'm not vegan or vegetarian (although I have friends who are so this comes in handy), I used real mayo and added tuna. It was a yummy, satisfying meal. I love pasta salads when the weather gets warm!

Jessica said...

This looks delicious.. I'd probably de-veganize it with some chicken though :3

Ben said...

We are moving into gf pastas but find they all have their drawbacks. Well, each have their own niche.

For mac and cheese we now have a definite preference for corn pasta. The flavor goes nicely with the cheeses we use and the baking seems to make it all meld together so well. Also pasta stays reasonably soft for leftovers.

Daughter loves rice pasta but it gets so clumped and gloppy — dare I say 'glompy' — that I just have a hard time with it. As a leftover it reminds me of vegetable tripe.

Is there a way to use it well? Something where that absorbent property shines like maybe a kugel? Any ideas?

Karina Allrich said...

Hi Ben- There is indeed a fabulous use for leftover rice pasta- I make kugel or a pasta frittata with it. Here's a savory kugel: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2007/04/comfort-me-with-kugel.html And I have more recipes- check the index for the pasta frittatas and more kugel.

Laura said...

OK, silly question probably, but I have mint and basil growing in my yard and my pantry contains all but marjorim in the dry form. Would you use basil in this? Could I sub dry herbs and leave out the marjoram? Thanks!

Laura said...

OK, silly question probably, but I have mint and basil growing in my yard and my pantry contains all but marjorim in the dry form. Would you use basil in this? Could I sub dry herbs and leave out the marjoram? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am new ish to gluten free eating and am so happy to have found your site i cant wait to try the recepies.

Samantha said...

Just made this for dinner! Absolutely delicious. I added some grilled chicken, bacon, and fresh parm. Yum. Will definitely be making often!

Manda Lightfoot said...

If you add white beans such as cannellini and a can of good quality tuna packed in oil this is one of my all time favorite meals

moonwatcher said...

loved this post, Karina!!


Kelly said...

This looks delicious! I love new pasta salad ideas! And the herbs are such a nice fresh addition.

Linnaea E said...

I've been following your blog for a while now, Karina! I see you've come out with yet another lovely recipe. Just curious, did you learn your photography skills through an "official" education or just through trial and error?

Stephanie said...

Sigh, I tried and failed to post this yesterday after making this incredible dish! Thank you thank you!
I used leftover grilled asparagus and zucchini, plus a little haloumi cut really small. I always use lemon & dill on my grilled zucchini, so it was a perfect fit. Used half mayo, half greek yogurt. The herbs were a mish-mosh of lots of extra dill, a few leaves of lovage, some marjoram and tarragon.
I used tinkyada macaroni. Texture isn't bad today, but not great either.

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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