Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Asparagus, Bacon, & Avocado Pasta Salad with Tangy Avocado Dressing

We do love a good meal-in-a-salad, and this was a great one. Our garden is still churning out frightening amounts of lettuce, and the asparagus is still going strong. Avocados, I admit, are not local, but they go so very well with the other ingredients. On that note, I also have to say that I think lemon juice would have been better than the apple cider vinegar, but the vinegar was what we had. It was certainly just fine!

It's a good idea to cut both avocados at once, and choose the softer one for the salad dressing.

This is a much more vegetably salad than most pasta salads, although not quite so much as the photo makes it appear - I sprinkled the asparagus over the top before I tossed it into the salad, but for some reason all the lettuce seemed to end up on top too. It does tend to float, I guess, so dig deep into the bowl when you are serving it up.

4 to 6 servings
45 minutes prep time - 30 minutes of which may be done in advance

Advance Preparation:
250 grams (1/2 pound) stubby pasta
250 grams (1/2 pound) fresh asparagus
250 grams (1/2 pound) lean bacon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil the pasta until tender. Meanwhile, wash, trim, and chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pasta when it has about 5 minutes more to cook. Drain them both and rinse them in cold water to cool. Drain well.

Cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces, and cook them until crisp in a skillet over medium heat. Drain well.

The pasta, asparagus and bacon can be cooked up to a day ahead, and kept, covered, in the refrigerator until  you are ready to proceed.  

Make the Salad:
1 small head butterhead (aka Boston or Bibb) lettuce
1 large tomato
1 large ripe avocado

Wash the lettuce well, and chop it fairly finely. Wash the tomato and chop it finely. Cut the avocado in  half, and discard the pit. Cut each half through the flesh to the skin, with horizontal and vertical cuts, then use a large, fairly sharp-edged spoon to remove the resulting bite-sized pieces from the skin. Add the avocado pieces to the lettuce and tomato in a large salad bowl.

Mix in the prepared pasta, asparagus, and bacon. 

Make the Dressing:
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar OR the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the avocado in half, discarding the pit. Scoop out the flesh and and mash it thoroughly. Mix it in a small bowl with the buttermilk, apple cider or lemon juice, the salt, and the pepper.

Toss the salad with the salad dressing just before serving.

Last year at this time I made Asparagus Pesto and Rhubarb Meringue Trifle

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