When I make a pasta salad I want mostly veggies and a little pasta. I want it to feel healthful and filling, I also want it to taste good, obvi. Pasta salads are great because they are hearty and fully adaptable to whatever ingredients you have available seasonally or in your fridge. Most importantly it can last all week for lunch! Top priority.
I have been in a bit of a cooking/baking rut. Going dairy-free really kills the baking creativity. And two trips in a row have killed my routines. I need to find my groove again. I miss churning out cookies, cupcakes, and treats. I can't even remember the last time I made cupcakes. Four years ago I was making cupcakes every week with all the work birthdays, and now, nothing.
And it is perfect for lunch! It fills me up to take care of the crazy that is summer camp registration and outside gardening. The salad is easy to pack and has stayed fresh all week. It's been a good lunch week! Especially after last week's "freezer chili week," I needed some fresh veggies! Don't let the pealing of the chickpeas distract you. It's oddly satisfying and helps the chickpeas become super crispy and all the flavor get inside. Trust me.
Balsamic Pasta Salad
Adapted from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Yield - 5-6 large servings
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend
scant 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
heaping 1/2 teaspoon paprika
6 ounces (half a box) dried spiral pasta
1 small English cucumber
3 roma tomatoes
1 yellow pepper
1 12-ounce can artichoke hearts
1 small yellow onion
salt + pepper
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Drain the chicken peas and dry. Remove the skins from the chickpeas.
Toss in a bowl with olive oil, Italian herb mix, chipotle chili powder, and paprika to coat fully.
Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and the pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.
Chop the cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, pepper, artichoke hearts, and onion into a large dice.
Add to a large bowl with the pasta. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add the vinegar, oil, and lime juice. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning and dressing as needed.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and toasted chickpeas