This post is also available in: Suomi (Finnish)
It seems that the weather goddesses are having a hard time deciding whether it should be spring or winter, as it’s been snowing (!!) almost every day during the last week. I, however, have decided that it’s definitely spring and celebrated it by biking around the city with a smoothie in hand (let’s not talk about the fact that my fingers were totally frozen) and by buying the very first syrens of the season. They’re not nearly as pretty as the ones I
steal pick up during the summer, but it brings a promise of spring to our place. As we have a new place, again! I’ve lost count on how may times I and we have moved during the last few years and hopefully won’t be doing that again in the future (fingers crossed :)). The most important thing right now is that our current place is really nice, I finally got to unpack all my kitchen stuff, and we’re just a couple minutes away from the sea and a few great parks I love to go during the summer. Yay!
This weekend we’re celebrating May Day, which marks two things for me: it’s the only tradition left from my uni times and we always celebrate with a big group of friends from school, and also, it’s the grand opening for picnic season! I think a lot of us, including me, are always on the lookout for quick and easy picnic recipes so I thought I’d share this favorite of mine: Spring Pasta Salad! I generally love pasta salads especially in the summer because they’re very easy, filling, but also fresh enough to be served with a bunch of other (unhealthier) foods, and maybe a glass of bubbles.
This salad has a lot of my current favorites, such as asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and this really nice lemon and basil oil I make in my blender. The parmesan flakes balance out the lemon very nicely and roasting the asparagus on the pan leaves it really crunchy, which is just how I like my asparagus. If you’d like to make a vegan version of this, you can just skip the parmesan or try making a vegan nut-based parmesan cheese. I like to make my pasta salads heavier on the veggie side and leave the vegetables crunchy, so that the salad will look and taste good even after a few hours.
A few of my other picnic favorites include this gluten-free focaccia, savory carrot muffins, and this divine chocolate cake. With a few good dishes, a bottle of something nice (whether it’s juice, kombucha or wine), and a group of friends, I think you can never go wrong :)
Happy spring times, friends! xx
For more inspiration, follow me on Instagram and tag photos of my recipes with #tuuliablog so I can see!
Spring Pasta Salad w/ Lemon & Basil (GF)
notes: I like to use brown rice pasta in this but other gluten-free pastas work well too. if you’d like to add a bit more protein, you could make this with a bean-based pasta! and if the basil pesto seems like too much work (it’s really easy), you can replace it with regular pesto sauce.
250 g gluten-free pasta
1 bunch asparagus
olive oil, for frying
150 g cherry tomatoes
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes
70 g baby spinach
1/2 cup parmesan flakes
lemon basil oil (recipe below)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and add about a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other. Let cool.
2. Rinse and peel asparagus, if needed. Remove the hard ends. Cut the asparagus and zucchini into small pieces. Add a splash of olive oil to a frying pan and fry the veggies for a few minutes until they are slightly softened and browned.
3. Cut the cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and finish with the parmesan cheese and lemon basil oil. Serve and enjoy!
Lemon Basil Oil
makes about 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup olive oil
a pinch of salt
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a jar and store in the fridge.