So, Toronto got hit with its first official snow fall on Sunday, and yes, it’s late November, but it still somehow took me by surprise. I felt a momentary sensation of delight upon opening my blinds Sunday morning and seeing the world caked in pristine, flaky white layers, but then it gradually gave way to a prolonged sense of dread and summer longing. Snow, in its own frigid way, is kind of magical, at least when you’re looking at it from someplace safe and warm, but then, when you realize that, at some point, you’ll have to go outside and navigate the plummeting temperatures, waist deep snow banks and sleet-covered roads, that sense of delight quickly dissipates.
Anyway, I woke up wanting to somehow bring back a small taste of summer to my weekly meal planning, and my first thought was pasta salad, a quintessential picnic food. This recipe is a revamp of this recipe, except with even more sun-dried tomatoes in place of the spinach, and with the addition of one of my favourite warm weather sides – roasted asparagus!
For the asparagus:
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of black salt
1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
For the pasta:
450g of pasta of your choice. Penne and macaroni are both good choices.
300g jar of oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup of plant-based milk
1 cup of plant-based mayonnaise
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
3 tsp of black salt. While you can use regular salt instead, I highly recommend using black salt if you can find it.
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Trim off the tough ends of the asparagus, and cut up the edible part of the stem and spears into two or three sections – whatever your preference. In a medium bowl, mix the pieces of asparagus with 2 tbsp of olive, 2 tbsp of black salt, and 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast. Spread the asparagus out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add the 450g bag of pasta. Cook until al dente (10-15 minutes). Drain and rinse in cold water.
4. In a blender, add the 300g jar of sun-dried tomatoes, including the oil, 1 cup of plant-based milk, 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and the 3 tsp of black salt, or more depending on your taste, and pulse into smooth.
5. Add the sauce and asparagus to the pasta and enjoy!