Texture, flavor, creamy and make-ahead easy, Lemon-Dijon Asparagus and Pea Macaroni Salad is packed with spring veggies and is a welcomed summer and spring pasta salad at picnics, BBQs and potlucks. This recipe is a community favorite and is vegan, vegetarian and easily gluten free. [ see VIDEO on recipe card ]
A Perfect Picnic Asparagus Pasta Salad
Y’all know what time of year it is….
…. BBQ, beach, camping, road trip and alfresco season (plus much more!!). So much to love about spring and summer, and with fresh produce making a showing at the farms and farmers markets, it’s also time for hearty Vegetarian Salads!
If you love pasta salad with asparagus, you’re going to enjoy this macaroni salad! To create a spin on a classic I include spring and early summer veggies with plenty of fresh herbs. Add sun dried tomatoes for pops of flavor and texture and an ultra creamy lemony dressing, this macaroni salad with peas and asparagus is the best I’ve made yet! If you’ve tried my Lemon Orzo Asparagus Pasta Salad you may have two favorites (wink)!
This Recipe Is:
- Easy to Make
- Tangy, with a Lemon Dijon Dressing
- Vegetarian or Vegan easily Gluten Free
- Veggie Packed
Quick Guide: How to Make Asparagus and Pea Macaroni Salad
This spring pasta salad comes together in about 30 minutes, with the pasta cooking water serving double duty to cook the asparagus and peas too! Be sure to check out the video on the recipe card to see how easy this recipe is to make. In summary, here’s how to make this easy pasta salad recipe (see recipe card for details):
- First, put the pasta on to boil. When the pasta is almost done, plunge the asparagus in with the pasta, then the peas so they can gently blanch. Drain and rinse under cool running water. Toss into a large mixing bowl and chill.
- Next, in a small bowl whisk the mayo, lemon, dijon mustard, garlic salt and pepper.
- Last, to the large mixing bowl, add the sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs and pour on the dressing. Mix and chill until ready to enjoy!
This peas and asparagus pasta salad is a lip smackin’, texture rich and creamy macaroni salad that’s fabulous for sharing. It’s easy (something I rarely say when it comes to cooking) to pull together too, requiring only one pot to cook the pasta, asparagus and peas. Whip the dressing up while the pasta chills in the fridge and it’s ready.
What to Serve with this Spring Pasta Salad
Peas and asparagus pasta salad can be shared along side just about any recipe you’d grill or share with BBQ sauce. Also, it makes a delicious pairing with sandwiches and lettuce wraps. Here are some recipes I love to share this easy pasta salad with:
Related: Do you love Meal Prep Ready Salads? Find more like this salad on my 10 Salad Recipes to Try This Summer round up!
- Make it Gluten Free or Gluten Full: Use your favorite pasta in this creamy macaroni salad recipe, gluten free or not. My favorite gluten free pasta is Jovial brand. My favorite gluten full elbows is Field Day.
- Make it Vegan or Vegetarian: To keep this pasta salad with peas egg free, I like Vegenaise brand mayonnaise. However, feel free to use your favorite mayo!
- When cooking pasta, I find I almost always cook pasta longer than package directions indicate. See recipe notes about cooking the pasta in this recipe.
- Make ahead: this creamy macaroni and pea salad looks best on the day it’s made. Make it a day ahead if desired, however, it still tastes great. I find the vibrant green colors diminish on day two.
- Lemon: I absolutely love the vibrant lip-pucker taste of lemon and this recipe reflects that. If concerned about too much lemon, back off a bit in the dressing by omitting the zest and perhaps the additional 1/2 lemon juiced. It can be adjusted to taste after the dressing is mixed in with the salad.
More Salad Recipes to Love
- Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta
- Broccoli Slaw with Golden Raisins and Walnuts
- Summer Pesto Tortellini Salad
- Shaved Asparagus Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dijon Poppyseed Dressing
- Texas Potato Salad
Lemon-Dijon Asparagus and Pea Macaroni Salad Recipe
- 2 C (9.5oz / 265g) Elbow Macaroni Pasta* gluten free if needed (see note)
- 1 lb (480g) Fresh Asparagus , tough ends removed and sliced on the bias into bite size pieces
- 1 1/2 C (200g) Frozen Peas
- 2/3 C (120g) Sun-dried Tomatoes marinated, drained and chopped
- 1/3 C (15g) Curly Parsley finely chopped
- 1/3 C (10g) Chives finely chopped, add chive flowers too for garnish if available.
For the Dressing:
- 1/3 C + 1 Tbs (100g) Mayo I like Vegenase
- 1 1/2 Lemons – juiced + zest from one** (see note)
- 2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Garlic minced or grated, about 2 large cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- Plenty of Fresh Ground Pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions (see note)*. During the last four minutes of cooking, drop the asparagus in with the pasta. During the last minute of cooking, add the peas.
- Carefully drain and rinse the pasta and veggies in a colander under cool running water, tossing as needed to completely cool.
- Transfer to pasta and veggies to a large mixing bowl, stir in the sun dried tomatoes and place in the refrigerator while mixing the dressing (see below).
- Once chilled, sprinkle with parsley, and chives then pour the dressing over the pasta salad, gently toss. Adjust lemon, salt and ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chive flowers if using and serve right away or store in a lidded container for up to four days. The vibrant green color of the veggies is best on the day the salad is made.
For the Dressing:
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, lemon zest (if using) and juice** (see notes), mustard, garlic, salt and fresh ground pepper.
I used couscous instead of the elbow macaroni, as I had that on hand. Still delicious! Perfect spring salad for our Easter dinner!
Couscous sounds amazing, Tami! Thank you for sharing your tip!
I’m guessing the sun dried tomatoes go in with the dressing? I see them listed in the ingredients but not in the instructions.
Hi Laura! Oh my, I’m so sorry about that. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes after transferring the pasta and other veggies to the mixing bowl (I added it to step 3). Thank you for pointing that out! I hope you enjoy the salad!
This has become a staple in our home! I sub artichoke hearts instead of peas and add some of the oil from marinated sun dried tomatoes. It’s so yummy!
Hii Kat! Artichoke hearts sound amazing… I’ll give it a go! Thank you for your note, tips and making! SO happy to hear!
This turned out very good!…I added 2t of sugar to balance out the acid and blended it in a stand blender. I also added watermelon radish for the crunch factor and a pop of color. Everyone loved it… I will keep this in my go to stash of group recipes. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Hii Tracey! So happy to hear this will be a part of your group recipes – your note makes my day! The watermelon radish – what a delicious idea!!
This pasta salad is pretty simple to make and it’s quite tasty. I had very thin asparagus and they worked out great in this salad. I like my asparagus well cooked so I don’t think I would make this unless I could find the thin rods. I used the lemon zest and the juice and it was very tart so next time I make it I might add a tsp of honey to the dressing to balance it out for myself. It makes a good amount of salad so it’s great for a crowd. I made it to go along with BBQ ribs and it was a great combo.
Hi Virginia! SO happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! The tsp of honey sounds like a lovely addition to balance the tart of the lemon. Thank you for coming back and leaving a note :D
I don’t usually write reviews for recipes but this was so delicious I had to leave a comment! I made x2 the dressing for an extra coverage and I love the fresh, tangy lemon flavour. I’m wondering if anyone has tried this recipe with added protein?
Hi Melissa! WOW! Thank you so much for your note and coming back and leaving a note! It totally makes my day! I’ve not seen a note about protein, but if you wanted to add some sunflower seeds, that would be delicious! For even more protein, try adding white beans or maybe even chickpeas. A double dose of dressing would be good if adding beans! Let us know how it goes!
I also loved this recipe! I added prosciutto and thought it was a nice, subtle flavor.
Hi Kerry! Thank you for your note and giving the salad a go. SO happy you enjoyed the recipe!
The dressing seems really salty. Does that balance out when tossed with the pasta? Thanks.
Hi Elisa! Thank you for your note. The salt does balance out once tossed with the pasta. However, if you’re concerned and you’ve not yet made the dressing, you can reduce the salt, then add to taste. I hope this helps!
I just discovered your website. I am happy to see the notes you write on this page tucked below the printable recipe.
This was an amazing salad. Big hit with my adult kids especially. I took your advice about cooking and draining the pasta and then cooking the veggies. It worked great but next time I won’t cook the peas. I’ll just let them thaw before adding. Thanks for sharing this since it is asparagus season. A definite keeper.
Hi Cindy! Thank you for your note and giving the recipe a go! SO happy to hear y’all enjoyed it!
This was so good and easy to make! I used penne and veganaise…loved it…thanks for another great recipe!
Hey Delin! Thank you so much for coming back and leaving a note! Hooray! Penne and veganaise is perfect!
Can you substitute greek yogurt for mayo in this recipe without changing the flavor too much? I’m not a huge fan of mayo. Thank you.
Hi Sylvia! Although I’ve not tried it, you can certainly give it a go! The lemon in the dressing makes the mayo base tangy, so if you do try greek yogurt maybe back off a bit on the lemon, unless you really love that tangy flavor. If you try it, please let us know how it goes. I hope this helps!
Tracy L Antonioli
I made this this afternoon for a get-together this evening and I have to say–this is going on my make for forever list. This is fantastic. And I’m a huge macaroni salad fan. I live in PA, and our macaroni salad is very yellow mustard and relish. And while I like it–I was raised on it after all–this is a fresh new take that will be an addition to my picnics for years to come. Thank you!
Hiii Tracy! Thank you so much for your note. I’m so happy to hear this and that it has found a place among your favorites. Hooray for many delicious picnics in the days to come! You’re most welcome!
This looks delicious Traci! Love the addition of sundried tomatoes. Perfect for spring!
Thaaank you Jess! xo
Absolutely loved this salad. I think next time I will up the Mayo just a hair to make it a tad creamier.
You made it! So happy to hear, Claudia! And yes to more mayo please! Sometimes I’m not sure.. it’s such a personal thing. But I’m not shy to say how much I do love Mayo! Thank you for your note, Claudia!
Reading this post while munching on leftover Sesame Ginger Noodle Salad (ala Traci). I will be trying the Lemon-Dijon Asparagus salad this weekend. As always, thanks Traci!
Liren | Kitchen Confidante
The sundried tomatoes add an unexpected layer of flavor – lovely! This is the perfect spring picnic salad, Traci!
p.s. Your photos are making me swoon. xo
They add just a little pop of interest without being overbearing. I love them in this salad! xo
I am in love with this pasta salad !! as I was reading your post, my mouth started watering! The sun dried tomatoes add such a great contrast of flavor to the other ingredients in it! Gorgeous my friend!
Cannot wait to hear about your trip :) Hopefully I can make it there some day !!!
Stunning shots as always my friend :)
So much freshness… I knew you’d appreciate it Amisha! xo
Wow I made this tonight and it is soooo good! I will be making this again for sure!! I used half of the mayo and half light sour cream and some special mustard I had though, turned out perfect!
Oh my! Thank you for your note, Lori! The addition of sour cream… totally made my mouth water! YUM!
Traci, love pasta salads like this and this is so pretty and such flavor bomb. So excited for summer picnics. I cannot wait to hear about your trip my dear. So happy for you!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend.
Aren’t picnics sooo fun! And half the fun is planning and getting ready for one!
Now, as far as I am concerned, this is the most perfect pasta recipe ever. Funny because I am in the process of making a pasta salad recipe and I find so much inspiration in yours as always. Mine is with Mediterranean flavors, but the way you use veggies always inspire me so I might steal some ideas from here. :))
Thanks a million for including my recipe as well.
Can’t wait to hear more about Costa Rica my friend.
Oh my goodness, Ayse! Thank you for your sweet note.. I’d love to share this salad with you and can’t wait to see your mediterranean spin! :D OMGeee Costa Rica.. where do I begin?
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
Yes to picnics and outdoor al fresco dining! This looks delicious, Traci – I love pasta salads and this one is full of veggies which is always a win win for me. Love that you have chives in there, I’m growing them this year and they are so easy to grow and I’m always looking for new ways to use them. Love the addition of lemon and dijon mustard in the dressing. I’ll have to look out for Just Mayo at the market. And thanks sooo much for sharing one of my recipes – much appreciated! Have a wonderful weekend!
Then your chives have those beautiful purple flowers about now… and oh my they’re SO good in this recipe, Geraldine! I love them too and add them to just about everything while they’re growing.
I love the way you “upped” this dish with veggies…and left the mayo in(love a creamy taste that fats give). I say, yes please to this dish!
I also made your Peppita dip last night for a weekend party and it is very good so I am looking forward to serving it!
I’m so with you about the fats… I’m sometimes embarrassed to say how much I love mayo! lol! So excited that you tried the Pepita dip! I hope everyone enjoyed it!
So ready for picnics to begin here-if only the rain will stop! When it does I’ll be ready with rhis new recipe. I’m usually the one bringing the salads so this is a welcome addition! Thanks, Traci!
I hope you enjoy this one, Jean… After the rain! Most welcome!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
I’m so excited for summer and picnic season too Traci! And macaroni salads are always one of my favorite things to bring. I love the list of ingredients you’ve got going here. The asparagus pea combo always works well, and I bet it’s fabulous with the addition of the sun dried tomatoes. Love the light dressing too! This one will be on my picnic list for sure! Happy weekend!
OMGeee me too Mary Ann…. I remember your post about Gram’s macaroni salad.. (and one I still want to make!). SO good!
dr deborah bernstein
Beautiful as always, Traci! I love everything about this one. You had me at asparagus!
Thaaank you so much Deb! This is that all purpose bowl I was telling you about… I got it free from a mail order off a ragu jar some 20+ years ago! lol – I use it for everything! But it has some strange painting in the bottom of misc. herbs.. I hope you enjoy the recipe, love! xo
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
Oh love those sun dried tomatoes in here. I need to start adding them to my pasta more regularly. So much flavor! And I want to come and picnic with you this Summer! So let’s plan that, ok? :-)
OMGeee I’d love to have a picnic together, Liz! Tell me when! Those tomatoes? They add so much flavor – little pops here and there. And since tomatoes (local) are wayyyy off for us, I decided these little babies would be a perfect addition! :D
Laura | Tutti Dolci
Such a pretty spring salad, bring on picnic season!
Thank you Laura!!
What a fun and springy spin on a classic, Traci! So excited for picnic season and eating outdoors again. So much green, and those little bits of sun dried tomatoes add the prettiest pop of color. Hope you have a wonderful weekend friend!
Thank you Emily! Those bits of tomatoes really brighten the salad.. Why is eating outdoors so much fun? xo