These are asparagus noodles, as in ASPARAGUS that you shave thinly to look and act like fettuccine noodles. Hoooooly goodness. I am for real. The day I made them, I literally could not shut up about it. I called over everyone in the studio: look at this! look! aren’t they so pretty! hey! you! look look looooook! It’s a magic trick that you can eat.
How To Make Our Asparagus Noodles:
Veg noodles have been having their hot second in the spotlight, but I had never-ever-ever heard of asparagus noodles until I flipped open the most recent Food Network magazine and saw their recipe for Asparagus Noodles with Pesto. EXCUSEMEWHAT? Asparagus as noodles? Okay, alright, catching my breath.
This could be really cool or really weird.
We, the POY team who is always hungry and/or looking for good ideas, decided to give it a try. And after getting jumbo asparagus, testing a few ways of prepping, and working on our skills with the vegetable peeler, I think we finally nailed it. Amiright? Just check those gorgeous paper-thin ribbons.
I don’t want to get too confident here since we did borrow this general idea from them, but I do want to go on record as saying that I think our version is quite a bit better than the Food Network one. We cooked the noodles for a LOT less time because we are all morally opposed to soggy vegetables. We also got rid of the extra greens (asparagus + arugula? all of it cooked? just, ugh. mush factor was out of control.) and swapped the arugula for bacon and peas and Pecorino Romano cheese. ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.
I also swapped in our favorite jarred pesto since it doubles as an improvement and a shortcut.
It’s spring, guys, so obvi pesto is happening on everything right now. And you know I love homemade pesto! How many times have we bonded over this? Think about it: kale pesto, walnut pesto, magic green sauce which is sort of like a glorified pesto…
But sometimes a girl just needs a jar of (ACTUALLY GOOD TASTING) store-bought pesto in her pantry so she can whip up asparagus noodle magic in no time. This pesto, for us, is a super quick meal-builder that does not sacrifice on quality. If you haven’t picked up on it over the last 50 years that I’ve been a super fan, I’ll remind you again that tippy-top quality (at regular prices) is just the DeLallo way.
We bought this stuff at our local Whole Foods, but I also regularly buy DeLallo products (pesto included) at Cub Foods for those of you who are reppin’ the Midwest with me.
Here’s how I have most enjoyed this salad/noodle situation: as a side for my wild rice burgers. Stay with me.
Sometimes it’s as-is, just served as a little side veg dish, and sometimes it’s more of an add-on to my ever-evolving wild rice burger stackers. I’ll even leave off the peas and bacon and just go for the pesto asparagus noodles, plain jane, over top of the wild rice burger with a fried egg and an obscene amount of chipotle hot sauce. OMG. Please do this for yourself. It can be breakfast OR lunch OR dinner, and it is utterly BEYOND.
Asparagus as noodles, with pesto, peas, bacon, and cheese – verdict: cool.
Cut of the woody ends of the asparagus. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into wide ribbons, like fettuccine noodles. You will get to a point with each piece where you can’t shave them any further, leaving a thicker “noodle” of asparagus. I’d recommend just saving those and using them in something else so they don’t mess with your gorgeous paper-thin noodles.
Heat a little bit of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the asparagus to the pan in batches, tossing around the pan for no more than 30 seconds to one minute. You want the asparagus to be right between raw and cooked, because once they get too cooked, they will go soggy on you (and… no thanks).
Toss the semi-cooked asparagus very gently with the pesto in a large bowl. Plate the “noodles” just like you would with normal pasta, and top with bacon, peas, cheese, and extra pesto! Yummy!
Like most salads, this doesn’t make great leftovers. But you CAN shave the asparagus in advance and just cook it right before serving.