The $3 Grocery Shortcut I Use to Make Better Pasta Salad All Summer Long

published May 15, 2024
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close up of pasta salad
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Most of us won’t tolerate intrusive watermelon seeds, our limes are blissfully seed-free, and who’s snacking on a cluster of crunchy seeded grapes, really? So why do we put up with slippery, slimy, impossible-to-pin-down lemon seeds? 

These little guys are so problematic in the kitchen there’s an extensive array of goal-keeping contraptions designed to block the teeniest of seeds seeking their way into your lemon-poppy seed muffin batter or freshly shucked oyster. Fortunately, thanks to innovation in the produce world, we can toss the lemon-sized hair nets and clunky plastic juicers and squeeze our lemons with abandon. Wonderful Seedless Lemons are changing how we embrace and enjoy one of the most widely used citrus varieties, and I for one don’t have plans to go back to seeded.

Credit: Lizzy Briskin

What’s So Great About Wonderful Seedless Lemons?

These fruits look much like the lemons that are likely languishing at the bottom of your crisper drawer, but there’s a lot more beneath the surface (or, rather, less). Just by holding one in your hand, you’ll probably notice a difference. These lemons are heavier than your average supermarket buy, which is a sign that they’re full of juice. They’re also soft and yielding to a gentle squeeze (a sign that you won’t need to fight them for a few drops of acid). The skin is noticeably smooth and shiny with minimal pores, as if the lemon just arrived from the spa. The shiny skin also expresses well, meaning you can shave off long, flavor-packed strands of sunny zest easily with a Microplane

But the real treat is when you slice one open. There’s not a seed in sight. The white membrane is thin and unobtrusive, and there’s never a thick, meaty, dry peel or pith that can sometimes dominate a citrus fruit. Instead, the majority of a Wonderful Seedless Lemon is juicy flesh — and I mean juicy. You can get several tablespoons of fresh, bright liquid from each fruit.

Credit: Lizzy Briskin

What’s the Best Way to Use Wonderful Seedless Lemons?

The juice tastes familiarly tart. It adds a kick of acidity anywhere you’d typically use lemon juice, from seasonal baked goods to savory dishes, to a simple cup of tea. My spring and summer recipe plans involve light, bright flavors, and it feels like I go through mountains of lemons each week. 

I especially love using Wonderful Seedless Lemons for dressing salads, whether I’m making a leafy green lunch or tossing a chilled pasta with herbs, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes for a cookout side. Not having to fish out the elusive seeds that inevitably make their way into my serving bowl saves me time and frustration, so I’ll be opting for seedless from here on out. 

Buy: Wonderful Seedless Lemons, $2.99 for one pound at Instacart

Have you tried these new seedless lemons? Tell us about it in the comments below.