I must say…lemon has a very interesting flavor. Especially when paired with mayonnaise,thyme, peas, and spinach. Creamy lemon noodles? I know you think I’m crazy. I’m not. I promise. I was honestly resistant once I dipped my finger in the dressing. I was really thinking it was going to be gross but it wasn’t.
If the summertime had a flavor that I could actually taste, I have a small hunch that the flavor would be of lemons. Those juicy, colorful and tangy little glowing orbs that offer a sharpness and zing to all they come in contact with make the taste of this season come alive with vibrancy. A cool and creamy summer macaroni salad kissed with a hint of fresh lemon and herbs will liven up your get-together and wake up everybody’s taste buds, making everyone glad that it’s summertime.
This is how mine turned out. I must say it was absolutely delicious with a clean lemon flavor and perfectly cooked pasta. If you don’t like spinach, don’t be afraid to add it. I am not the biggest fan of spinach and I hardly minded it at all. Also, when mixing iron-rich foods with lemon or any citrus, the iron is easier for your body to absorb. This is good news for my mom who is iron-deficient.
Here’s the recipe:
- 18 oz ditalini pasta, cooked and cooled
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- ⅓ cup fresh spinach
- ¾ cup mayo
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Add the cooked and cooled macaroni to a large bowl, and add in the thawed peas and the spinach.
- To make the dressing, Add all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and process the mixture until thick and completely creamy; store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the salad, at which point you can toss the dressing with the pasta.
- If serving immediately, toss with the dressing, and garnish with the thyme leaves; if making ahead, prepare all components and keep them separate, then toss the dressing with the pasta/peas/spinach when ready to serve, to keep the pasta salad moist and fresh; keep cold.