Elevate your salad game with our delightful Broccolini and Cashew Pasta Salad recipe. This vibrant dish brings together the earthy goodness of broccolini, the satisfying crunch of cashews, and the wholesome heartiness of whole wheat fusili pasta. Tossed in a zesty dressing with a hint of sweetness and a touch of spice, this salad is a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Follow our simple steps to create this enticing salad that's ideal for picnics, potlucks, or any occasion.
Savor the combination of textures and tastes in every bite of our Broccolini and Cashew Pasta Salad. This recipe strikes the perfect harmony between freshness and creaminess, making it a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire. Whether you're enjoying it solo or alongside your favorite entrée, this salad is a celebration of flavors that's guaranteed to impress. Prepare it ahead of time, share it with loved ones, and indulge in a symphony of goodness that captures the essence of vibrant ingredients.
- Whole Wheat Fusili Pasta
- Red Onion
- Dressing Ingredients: Mayonnaise, Stone Ground Mustard, Honey, Red Chili Flake, Salt, Black Pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
1. Prepare Broccolini and Pasta:
- Begin by bringing 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
- While the water is boiling, fill a spacious bowl with 2 cups of ice and 4 cups of water.
- Once the water is boiling, add the tablespoon of salt and introduce the broccolini. Cook for precisely two minutes.
- Remove the blanched broccolini and promptly place it in the ice water to preserve its vibrant color. Retain the boiling water.
2. Cook Pasta:
- Using the same water used for broccolini, add the whole wheat fusili pasta and cook according to the package instructions, but remove it 1 minute earlier than recommended.
- Spread the partially cooked pasta on a sheet pan to cool. Remember to save ½ cup of pasta water for later use.
3. Create the Dressing:
- In a large salad bowl, combine a tablespoon of the reserved pasta water, mayonnaise, stone ground mustard, honey, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
- Whisk vigorously until the ingredients form a creamy and well-blended dressing.
4. Assemble the Salad:
- Add the thinly sliced red onion to the dressing and toss until the onion is thoroughly coated and individual pieces are separated.
- Introduce the finely chopped parsley into the bowl and gently mix it in.
- Incorporate the cooled broccolini and partially cooked pasta into the dressing mixture. Toss everything together until they are evenly coated in the dressing.
- Sprinkle the roughly chopped cashews over the salad and give it a final toss, ensuring the cashews are evenly distributed.
5. Chill and Serve:
- Place the salad in the refrigerator and let it chill for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and develop.
- Serve the Broccolini and Cashew Pasta Salad as a refreshing side dish or a satisfying main course, depending on your preference.
- Broccolini: Substitute with regular broccoli florets for a similar taste.
- Whole Wheat Fusili Pasta: Use any pasta shape of your choice, such as penne or rotini.
- Red Onion: White or yellow onions can be used as an alternative.
- Cashews: Swap with almonds or walnuts for a different nutty flavor.
- Add grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, or tofu for a protein-packed version.
- Include sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers for an extra burst of color and flavor.
- Mix in grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta for added richness.
- Large Pot for Boiling Water
- Spacious Bowl for Ice Water
- Sheet Pan for Cooling Pasta
- Whisk for Dressing
- Large Salad Bowl for Mixing
- Refrigerate any leftover salad in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Before serving leftovers, give the salad a gentle toss to redistribute the dressing and flavors.
Blanch Broccolini Quickly for Optimal Color and Texture
To ensure your Broccolini maintains its vibrant green color and crisp texture, blanch it quickly and effectively. When boiling the water for blanching, have your ice water bath ready to immediately shock the blanched Broccolini. This rapid cooling process, known as "shocking," halts the cooking process and helps lock in the vibrant color and natural crunch. The result: perfectly cooked, bright green Broccolini that stands out in your refreshing pasta salad.
To keep your pasta salad moist and flavorful when stored, make sure to fully coat the pasta with dressing. When assembling the salad, ensure the pasta is well-tossed with the dressing so that it's evenly distributed. Additionally, you can reserve a small amount of dressing to mix in just before serving to refresh the flavors. If the salad does seem a bit dry after refrigeration, adding a splash of additional dressing or a drizzle of olive oil can help revive its moisture and taste.
Remember that pasta tends to absorb moisture over time, so the salad may thicken as it sits. Adjusting the dressing and giving the salad a gentle toss before serving can help maintain its desired consistency.
Broccolini Cashew Pasta Salad
- 1 Stovetop
- 2 bunches broccolini
- 1 tablespoon salt for water
- 1 lb whole wheat fusili pasta
- ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup cashews roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon pasta water
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flake
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add 5 quarts of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. While the water is boiling fill a large bowl with 2 cups ice and 4 cups water. To the boiling water, add the salt, stir, and add the broccolini. Cook for two minutes. Remove the broccolini and immediately place in the ice water. Do not dump the water.
- To the same water as the broccolini was cooked, and your pasta and cook according to directions, but remove 1 minute earlier. Place pasta on a sheet pan to allow to cool. Save ½ cup of pasta water. While pasta cools begin making the dressing.
- To a large salad bowl, add a tablespoon of pasta water, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, honey, red pepper flake, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- To the dressing add the onion and toss until coated in dressing and pieces separate. Then add the parsley and mix. Add the broccolini and cooked pasta and mix into dressing. Add the chopped cashews and toss. Chill for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
- This salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
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