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Lemony Spring Pasta Salad (vegan + nut-free) - The First Mess

Lemony Spring Pasta Salad with Vegetables & Herbs

Lemony spring pasta salad is a great vegan option for spring holiday gatherings. Loaded with vegetables, chickpeas, and a lemon dressing. Easy to make ahead and naturally nut-free!
Cuisine American, Dairy-free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Plant-Based, Potluck, Special Diets, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword 10 ingredients, agave nectar, all seasons, asparagus, avocado oil, chickpeas, dijon mustard, easy, green onions, holidays, lemon, maple syrup, mustard, parsley, pasta, peas, potluck dishes, pulses, quick, radishes, shallots, spring, spring entertaining, summer
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8


Lemony Dressing

  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ small shallot, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar/maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup neutral-flavoured oil, I like avocado

Pasta Salad

  • ¾ lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 1 cup shelled green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 lb small pasta (I used a mini penne, but orzo, small rotini, baby shells, or orecchiette are all good)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, from approximately 1 can, drained & rinsed
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 6-7 radishes, finely sliced into half moons
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped


  • Make the lemony dressing. In an upright blender, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, shallot, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and oil. Blend the mixture on high until creamy and unified. Set aside.
  • Place a large bowl of ice water on the counter.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Chop the asparagus into 2-inch lengths and add to the boiling water. Boil the asparagus for 2 minutes, or until it’s just starting to become tender. Add the peas to the water and stir for a few seconds, or until they turn bright green. Using a slotted spoon, transfer all of the asparagus and peas to the ice water. Let the vegetables sit and chill down.
  • Bring the salted water back up to a boil. Add the pasta and another good pinch of salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain the pasta thoroughly and then immediately transfer it to a large bowl. Add the chickpeas to the bowl as well. Quickly toss the pasta and chickpeas with two thirds of the lemony dressing until everything is coated.
  • Drain the asparagus and peas thoroughly and add them to the bowl with the pasta, along with the green onions, radishes, parsley, the remaining lemony dressing, some salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Check the pasta for seasoning and adjust if necessary (more salt, pepper, lemon juice, extra herbs etc). Finished spring pasta salad will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container.


  • I tried to keep the ingredients on the minimal side here, but you could add lots of cool ingredients to this if you have them around. Ideas: 2 tablespoons of capers chopped up, handful of fresh dill chopped up, 2 sticks of celery finely sliced, or even a small bulb of fennel shaved up nice and thin.
  • This will be great with whatever pasta you like (regular, gluten-free, chickpea-based etc), just as long as you keep the shape small and toss it in most of the dressing immediately after draining.