Hearty Spring Flavors with Leftovers: Spinach and Asparagus Pasta

June on our Wisconsin farm and B&B, Inn Serendipity, ushers in a few weeks of chaos.  Tending everything from gardens to B&B guests, June packs in a cornucopia of duties that take time away from the kitchen and savoring the abundance of the early summer season.

Don’t get me wrong as I truly relish this time of year, when both the days and work lists are long but satisfying.  Which is why we need quality fuel, good food to provide energy for the day.  This Spring Spinach and Asparagus Pasta ranks our new seasonal favorite, as it blends the tender seasonal flavors of asparagus and spinach with a filling dose of pasta, nuts and cheese, seasoned up with a unique, savory soy sauce-based dressing.  Plus it makes a sizeable batch, perfect for easy leftovers throughout the week.

Read on for the recipe and enjoy:

Hearty Spring Spinach and Asparagus Pasta

2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1inch pieces
¾ c. olive oil, divided
½ t. salt
1 pound (16 ounces) penne-style pasta
1 c. chopped green onions
3 T. soy sauce
5 T. white wine vinegar
Approx. 4 c. fresh baby spinach (about one 6-ounce package)
1 c. cashews, chopped
½ c. shredded Parmesan cheese or other hard-cheese such as Gruyere

*  Place prepared asparagus into a baking dish and drizzle with ¼ c. olive oil and salt.  Bake at 400 degrees, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until tender.  While the asparagus is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions.
*  Combine onions, soy sauce and vinegar in a blender.  While processing, slowly add the remaining ½ c. olive oil for dressing.
*  Combine pasta, spinach and asparagus in a large bowl.  Drizzle with dressing and toss.  Sprinkle with cashews and shredded cheese.  Serve immediately.
*  Serves approximately 8.

Photo credit:  Lisa Kivirist

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About the Author

Lisa Kivirist embodies the growing “ecopreneuring” movement: innovative entrepreneurs who successfully blend business with making the world a better place. Lisa is co-author, with her husband, John Ivanko, of Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life, capturing the American dream of farm living for contemporary times. Her latest release, ECOpreneuring: Putting Purpose and the Planet Before Profits is a compact, dynamic tool kit for a fresh approach to entrepreneurial thinking, blending passion for protecting and preserving the planet with small business pragmatics. As a W.K. Kellogg Food & Society Policy Fellow and Director of the Rural Women's Project, Lisa champions a voice for women farmers and rural ecopreneurs through media, speaking and advocacy work. Lisa runs the award-winning Inn Serendipity Bed and Breakfast in southwest Wisconsin, completely powered by renewable energy and considered amongst the “Top Ten Eco-Destinations in North America.” Her culinary focus on local and seasonal cuisine – with most ingredients traveling less than 100 feet from her organic gardens to B&B plates – earned recognition in publications from Vegetarian Times to Country Woman and inspired her cookbook, Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity. In addition to feature writing for publications such as Hobby Farm Home, Mother Earth News and Wisconsin Trails, Lisa is the lead writer for Renewing the Countryside, a non-profit organization showcasing rural entrepreneurial and agricultural success stories. Lisa also penned Kiss Off Corporate America: A Young Professional’s Guide to Independence. Lisa shares her farm with her husband, their young son, a 10kw wind turbine and a colony of honeybees.