It’s the simplest of tastes that sometimes commands the most attention. This Edamame Pasta Salad makes for a wonderful companion to any main meal.
Why I Love Edamame Pasta Salad with Asparagus
I love this edamame beans recipe. It is understated in flavour and colour. For those of you who don’t like strong flavours, this salad is for you. I don’t always want a salad that is packed with tang, sweetness or a cacophony of bold tastes.
I was introduced to a version of this salad when I first met partner’s mother. She is an incredible cook. And when she made this salad, which was an accompaniment to a painstakingly prepared beef main course, I couldn’t stop eating it.
I pretty much filled up on this risoni and asparagus salad recipe and didn’t do the main course justice. Classic example of how a salad can be the heroine for the night without intending to do so!
What is Edamame?
Edamame are young soybeans. They are harvested before they are matured. And this is the main difference between edamame and regular soybeans.
Where Can I Find Edamame?
You can find edamame from most Asian supermarkets in the freezer section. I am fortunate, my local supermarkets stock them in their freezer. That’s how popular they have become that they have now made it into mainstream stores!
How Do I Cook Edamame?
You can buy edamame either already hulled (i.e. out of its shell) or still in its shell.
You can boil them in salted water for about 5 minutes or you can steam them for the same amount of time.
How Do I Eat Edamame?
Traditionally, edamame is a popular starter or side dish. They are presented in its shell and is generously salted. You would put the whole edamame, shell and all into your mouth and you’d pull out the shell between your teeth to squeeze out the beans. The salt from the shell gives the young soybeans extra flavour.
Have an empty bowl to the side for the shells.
Edamame bean recipes have become very popular over the years and aside from just eating them as a snack, they are great for salads. It has a soft, creamy texture with subtle flavours.
How to Prepare the Asparagus.
Do I Need to Break Off the Ends of The Asparagus?
The answer to this is a simple yes. The ends of the asparagus are usually woody and somewhat fibrous and difficult to eat. I am not a fan of that texture so I do remove the ends.
There is a bit of an art to snapping off the ends. Hold the asparagus towards its ends and when you bend it, it will naturally snap off at the point where the woody part begins. Don’t bend it in the middle as you’ll break off more than necessary and you’d be discarding perfectly good parts of the vegetable.
If the asparagus just bends and doesn’t snap, you’d probably find that the whole asparagus is a bit limp and not fresh enough to eat raw or cooked minimally for salads.
Do I Have to Peel the Green Asparagus?
To peel or not to peel?
I have never peeled green asparagus. Some may if they don’t snap off the woody ends and so they peel off the parts that may be hard to eat. Otherwise, they are perfect the way they are!
If you love asparagus as much as we do and love to use them in your salads, this asparagus pairing list might inspire you to create an asparagus salad recipe of your own!
How to Make Edamame Pasta Salad with Asparagus
How to Prepare the Salad
You can certainly speed up the process if you have 3 saucepans going at once. Bring them all to boil and add salt to the water.
For the risoni, add 3 cups and boil for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Don’t overcook them as you don’t want the pasta to become a big pile of mush.
As for the asparagus, snap off the base of the vegetable and remove the woody ends. Cut them diagonally to a thickness of about 1 cm. Cook the asparagus in the boiling saucepan of water for about 1-3 minutes, depending on how thick the asparagus is. You want it to still be crunchy.
In the 3rd saucepan, add the hulled edamame and cook for 5 minutes.
At the end of the cooking time for each of the above components, drain, run under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside to dry.
Prepare ½ cup of basil. Just remove them from the stem and do not chop them. This is essentially the leafy green ingredient of this salad.
How to Assemble the Salad
This is the simplest of all assemblies as there isn’t even a dressing.
Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil, a heavy hand of salt and season with pepper.
Mix thoroughly and voila!
This is a simple vegan asparagus salad recipe where you can get the creamy textures of the edamame, crunch of the asparagus and the familiarity of a wholesome pasta. So understated, yet so delicious!
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Edamame Pasta Salad with Asparagus
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- Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add salt. Add 3 cups of risoni into the pot. Boil for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain the risoni into a colander and run under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to dry.
- Snap off the asparagus at the base to remove the woody stems. Slice them diagonally to about 1 cm in thickness. Bring small saucepan of water to boil. Add salt. Cook the asparagus for 1-3 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. We want them to still be crunchy. Remove from the pot of water, drain in a colander and run under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Set aside and dry with paper towels.
- Bring another small saucepan of water to boil, or recycle the asparagus water, add salt and then the edamame. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain in a colander and run under cold running water and set aside. Dry with paper towels.
- Prepare ½ cup of basil. Do not chop. Just remove gently from the stem.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Stir through 2 tbsp of olive oil until the pasta looks a little shiny.
- Add a generous portion of salt.
- Season with pepper and serve.
- If you’re not able to get your hands on a packet of hulled edamame beans, you can certainly get them still in their shell. Boil them in salted hot water for 5 minutes. Run under cold running water and then pop them out of their shells.
- No edamame? You can easily substitute them for peas or broad beans.
- When asparagus is not in season, I have used zucchini or green beans as a substitute.
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