This Lemon Ricotta Asparagus Pasta Salad with Bacon is a fun, springy twist on pasta salad! Instead of using mayo or a vinaigrette-based dressing, the pasta gets coated in a ricotta, starchy pasta cooking water, lemon, garlic, and parmesan mixture. It’s super creamy and delicious, but still light!
I wanted to make a springy pasta salad, but wasn’t feeling anything mayo-based or vinaigrette-y. Then I had a brilliant idea: to use creamy ricotta cheese! I am SO glad I did. This super quick ricotta “sauce” is DELICIOUS.
I wanted to use minimal pots and pans here too, because most of the time, I am all about quick and easy. Instead of steaming or roasting the asparagus separately, I dropped it in with the pasta during the last minute or so of cooking! It quickly blanches it, so it’s still crisp and beautifully green! And there’s one less pot to clean. Winning.
This ricotta sauce is SO GOOD. I thinned the ricotta out with a little bit of starchy pasta cooking water (definitely my secret weapon for healthier creamy sauces), and it’s incredible. There’s garlic, lemon zest, and parm in there too. So fresh and delicious.
Technically, this pasta could be eaten hot too! It’s amazing cold or at room temp, and travels really well to take to a party. When pasta, creamy ricotta, lemon, and bacon are involved, you really can’t go wrong. In my world, at least.
If you’re taking this to a party or making it for guests, the only thing I’d hold off on is adding the bacon until right before serving! Because we want super crispy bacon, right?! Cooking a bit extra for sprinkling over the top is never a bad idea either. 🙂
Look how creamy! And with the crispy bacon and fresh asparagus and lemon? Omg. Such a dreamy combination.
Lemon Ricotta Asparagus Pasta Salad with Bacon
This Lemon Ricotta Asparagus Pasta Salad with Bacon is a fun, springy twist on pasta salad! Instead of using mayo or a vinaigrette-based dressing, the pasta gets coated in a ricotta, starchy pasta cooking water, lemon, garlic, and parmesan mixture. It's super creamy and delicious, but still light!
- 1 pound pasta (I used campanelle, but any short-cut pasta works!)
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 1/2'' pieces
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup reserved starchy pasta cooking water
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. In the last minute or two of cooking, scoop out 1/2 cup of water with a mug or heatproof measuring cup and set aside. Add the asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
Add the ricotta to a medium bowl along with the pasta water, parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Put pasta and asparagus in a large bowl and add the ricotta mixture. Toss until coated. Add the bacon and scallions and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature, or chill for a few hours and serve cold!