Asparagus Pasta Salad

Last summer, while studying abroad in Germany, my friend Rebecca and I got up almost every day at 6:30 to get in a morning run. While our classmates slept, we ran aside the river in Cologne, explored the neighborhoods of East Berlin and discovered scenic trails near Holzkirchen.

Although I loved getting to see the country from a runner’s perspective, I also grew to appreciate the routine that Rebecca and I developed. That’s why, even though we’re some 2,000 miles from Germany, we’ve decided to reestablish the routine this summer in Lawrence.

Today, we started off light with a (pretty speedy) 2.5 mile run around the neighborhood. Although the scenery was a little different from Germany, it was still nice!

When I got back, I was craving a smoothie.

Consumed: Smoothie with ~1 C unsweetened soy milk, one banana, one spoonful of peanut butter, ice cubes and a drizzle of honey. All topped with Special K vanilla-almond cereal.

After cleaning up, I wrote myself a to-do list and got down to business. Seriously, what is it about a real to-do list that gets me so motivated? I think it’s something about the challenge of crossing as many things off the list as possible…

On that front, today was pretty successful. In fact, I didn’t end up getting home for lunch until nearly 1:30. I was so hungry by that time that I went with an easy option of veggie sushi with brown rice and a side of steamed edamame.

I rounded it all out with a little bowl of the Special K vanilla-almond cereal — that stuff is so good!

The rest of the afternoon, I took care of some business around the house. My top priority, however, was putting together a good dinner for Dan. It was the first day of his month-long internship, which will require long hours and long commutes. I figured the least I could do was make him something nice to eat!

Asparagus Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • Half of a bunch of asparagus
  • Half of a small red onion
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 C Pecorino Romano cheese, crumbled
  • 2 C whole-grain pasta shells

Directions:

  • Cut off the tip of the asparagus stalk. Line up four or five asparagus spears and thinly slice the whole stalk. Repeat with the remaining asparagus.
  • Dice the onion so that it is similar in size to the asparagus.

  • Toss the asparagus and onions with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the mixture into a storage container and allow it to “marinate” for at least one hour.
  • Shortly before serving, prepare pasta al dente according to directions. Immediately drain and rinse pasta under cold water. Toss the pasta with the asparagus mixture. If the mixture seems too dry, add ~1 T more olive oil.
  • Immediately before serving, mix in the Perorino Romano cheese.

The whole-grain pasta was filling enough for me, but I knew it wouldn’t cut it for Dan. To round out his meal, I marinated two chicken breats in a lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper mixture for four hours. Then, I roasted the chicken breasts in the lemon juice at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

I was actually pretty nervous about roasting the chicken, but he said it turned out well. I became a vegetarian before I really got into cooking, so I’m pretty much clueless when it comes to cooking meat — and, because I don’t taste test the meat, I never really know how it turns out! It’s a gamble!

After Dan’s long day at work and my long day away from him, all we wanted to do was hang out and relax. Off to do it all over again tomorrow!

Questions: Have you ever had raw asparagus? Do you prefer exercising in the morning or at night?

Thinly slicing and marinating the asparagus makes it really tender, so I hardly realize it isn’t cooked!

I feel best when I work out in the morning, but I have my “best” workouts in the afternoons.

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3 responses to “Asparagus Pasta Salad

  • fitchocoholic

    This recipe looks amazing! Makes me wish we had asparagus here! 😦

  • Sara @ the foodie diaries

    I enjoy exercising at night! It seems like many others enjoy exercising in the morning, but I just don’t have the motivation to get up early and go work out. I would rather go in the evening and be able to spend an hour or two at night rather then rush in the morning while I think about all the things I have to do later on in the day!

  • Jess

    I must admit–Special K vanilla-almond IS quite delicious 😀

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