With this past Sunday being the first official day of Summer, I am gearing up for the upcoming months being filled with gatherings and barbecues. As a result, I wanted to spend the next few blog posts sharing some of my favorite summertime recipes. This Creamy & Tangy Lemon-Thyme Pasta Salad from one of my favorite blogs, The Cozy Apron, is one of my go-to recipes as it is a unique twist on your classic pasta salad side dish. The variety of flavors includes salty pancetta, creamy and tangy citrus dressing and a hint of heartwarming thyme. Headed to a barbecue or a family/friend gathering and looking to contribute to the meal? Offer to bring a side dish and earmark this recipe. You will not be disappointed!
Look at those delicious ingredients! The olive oil with freshly cracked pepper mixed with the mayo emulsifies into a creamy dressing to coat the delicious pasta salad components. If you are looking to lighten the calories, substitute half the mayo with plain Greek yogurt. I do not, however, suggest full replacement with Greek yogurt as it tends to make the salad dressing a bit sour. A little mayo never hurt anyone!
My favorite aspect of this pasta salad is that it combines a note of tanginess from the lemon juice and lemon zest with a bit of sweet sugar rounded out by a savory component from the Dijon mustard and fresh thyme. The outcome - a delicious and beautiful side dish. I hope you enjoy as much as I do!
Creamy & Tangy Lemon-Thyme Pasta Salad
FOR THE SALAD
- 12 ounces ditalini or macaroni pasta, cooked according to directions and cooled
- 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced and crisped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves for garnish
FOR THE LEMON-THYME DRESSING
- 3/4 cup mayo (partially substitute with Greek yogurt, if desired)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- Toss together the cooled pasta in a large bowl with the petite peas and the crispy pancetta.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor until creamy or beat thoroughly with a whisk until emulsified.
- Toss the pasta with the creamy lemon-thyme dressing immediately before serving.
- To keep fresh, store at cool temperature.
- This pasta salad is not only a side dish for main meals but can also be a great lunch option. Toss a hearty scoop of pasta salad over a bed of fresh spinach, diced avocado and shredded chicken. Make a little extra dressing to serve on the side. You have yourself a delicious and refreshing lunch to look forward to!
Recipe courtesy of The Cozy Apron.