Looking for a great pasta salad recipe? Look no further – this is a pasta salad that even your picky eaters will adore. Just don’t tell them what’s in it, especially if you know that they’ll refuse to eat anything with avocados or chickpeas or cucumbers or olives…
A good choice of pasta will make all the difference to a pasta salad. The best kinds of pastas for salads are short and stout, with lots of nooks and crannies, twists and turns for the dressing to get into. And when it comes to nooks and crannies in the pasta world nothing comes close to radiatori – those little pastas that look like accordions or radiators. You should also cook your pasta al dente (firm to bite) or it will be too mushy, and you should toss the freshly cooked and drained pasta with some olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
While the pasta is cooking you can chop all the vegetables: baby tomatoes, English cucumber, and Kalamata olives. Slice them and dice them any way you prefer. As you can tell from the picture, I usually just split baby tomatoes in half, slice the olives, and dice the cucumber without peeling it. You can adjust and customize, depending how rustic you like your salad to be.
One note on olives. If you can’t get Kalamata olives, you can replace them with any type of olive you can find. I recommend darker ones because they tend to have a stronger, and a bit more bitter, flavor which works well in a salad like this, but green ones will work too.
The very last thing that you will do once the cooked pasta is mixed with diced vegetables, chopped parsley and cooked (or canned) chickpeas, is to mix some dressing. In this case, the dressing is rich, smooth and green – it’s pretty much avocado blended with lots of lemon juice and some mustard.
Toss everything and you are done. This salad is great fresh, but I do recommend that you chill it for an hour or so before serving. Looking for more great pasta ideas? Check this simpler pasta salad, or a real fall (autumn) treat – Radish Salad with Apples, Carrots and Toasted Walnuts. Enjoy!
Easy Mediterranean Pasta Salad
What you’ll need:
- 1 lbs (454 g) radiattore pasta
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (to prevent pasta from sticking)
- 1 pint (1 1/2 to 2cups) cherry tomatoes, chopped in half of quarters, depending on size
- 1 large English cucumber, diced
- 1-2 cups Kalamata olives, sliced
- 1 15.5oz (439g) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and pat dried
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 avocado
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
What you’ll do:
- Cook the pasta in salted water using the instructions on the box and subtracting a minute or so. You want the pasta to be al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta, then place into a large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil.
- While pasta is cooking, chop the tomatoes, cucumber and olives. Add to cooked pasta together with the chickpeas and parsley. If you are using canned chickpeas make sure they are drained, rinsed and dried to avoid adding access water/liquid into your salad.
- In a blender, combine lemon juice, avocado and mustard. Blend until silky and smooth.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to combine and coat, and chill for an hour or so before serving. Enjoy!
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