Asparagus and Bacon Pasta Salad w/ Creamy Basil Pesto Dressing

About 2 weeks ago I was looking after my neighbor’s daughter, Abby, and we decided to make something together for lunch. I had bookmarked several salad recipes from one of my cookbooks that I wanted to try, and we chose this one because we both liked all of the ingredients!

So off we went to the shops that morning to buy what we needed, then we came home and I got a few chores done while Abby and my 2yo ran riot outside for about an hour. Then they came inside and Abby helped me with the salad. I was really impressed with how much Abby, who is 11, was able to help me. While I got the pasta boiling and chopped the onion, Abby cut up the bacon and asparagus, and made the dressing. I simply cannot wait until my little one is this helpful in the kitchen!

By 12pm, we were sitting down to a delicious lunch, and Abby declared it the best pasta salad she had ever had! 🙂 I was so happy that she liked it, and I had to agree with her – it was very tasty!

So here is Abby’s and Debbie’s pasta salad, modified from a recipe in Kiwi KISS All Seasons Cookbook.

Asparagus and Bacon Pasta Salad w/ Creamy Basil Pesto Dressing

2 ½ cups uncooked brown rice pasta spirals*
2 hard-boiled eggs
2 teaspoon oil (lard/butter/coconut oil/olive oil)
4 rashers bacon, chopped
½ large onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus
Sea salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Small handful parsley, chopped

*Note: I use Tinkyada gluten-free brown rice pasta. This pasta has roughly the same volume cooked versus uncooked. I think wheat-based pasta has a tendency to expand when cooked, so you’ll need less. You’re aiming for 2½-3 cups cooked pasta.

Creamy Basil Pesto Dressing
½ cup plain (unsweetened) yogurt
4-5 teaspoons basil pesto (taste as you go and add more if needed)
1 teaspoon mayo
Sea salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)

Prep in advance to allow time to cool:
1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and allow the pasta to cool to room temperature.
2. Boil the eggs. Allow the eggs to cool, then peel and chop.

When you’re ready to make the salad:
3. Heat oil in a pan and sauté the bacon and onion for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
4. Meanwhile, wash the asparagus, snap off tough ends and discard. Chop the spears into small lengths.
5. Add the asparagus, salt, pepper and parsley to the pan with the bacon and onion and cook until the asparagus is cooked but still firm – about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down a little.
6. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add pesto, salt and pepper to taste.
7. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta and the bacon and asparagus mixture. Gently mix in the dressing, then finally mix in the chopped egg.
Serves 2-3

Thanks Abby! It was so much fun cooking with you 🙂

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