Remember how I said last week that I rarely get excited over a salad? Well, pasta salads are an exception to that rule. It may due to the fact that I’m one of those weird people who actually prefers many pasta dishes cold, leftover the next day. To me, pasta salads are basically deliberately-made leftovers.
I love this recipe because it’s packed full of healthful ingredients: the usual cucumber, peppers and tomatoes you find in many Greek salads, with the addition of cooked chickpeas and shredded kale. Chopped, pitted kalamata olives and crumbled feta add a nice salty bite, and the tangy vinaigrette is packed with the flavours of lemon, balsamic vinegar and fruity extra virgin olive oil.
This would be a fantastic quick weeknight dinner as the only real cooking involved is boiling the pasta. If you’re an efficient chopper, you can chop all of the vegetables and make the vinaigrette in the time it takes the water to boil and the pasta to cook.
Keep in mind that you will want to cook your pasta all the way through, rather than only to al dente as you would for a hot dish, because it will not cook anymore once it’s out of the pot and rinsed in cool water. Rather, the warm pasta soaks up all of the essence of the vinaigrette as it cools.
I like to make this on the weekend and take it to work for lunch all week. One recipe fills roughly 6-8 mason jars (depending on the size of your jars), and it keeps well for at least 3-4 days. Any longer than that and the pasta will start to get a bit gummy. In my experience, the glory day of this pasta is the day after you make it, since all the flavours have time to mix and mingle and the texture is perfect.
- 1 package whole wheat fusilli pasta (or other small, chunky shape)
- ½ of an English cucumber, cut into chunks
- ⅔ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 bell pepper, cut into chunks
- ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, or half a 19 oz can, rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1-2 kale leaves, tough rib removed and remainder chopped
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- Juice of 1 medium-sized lemon
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions; rinse with cool water to stop the cooking and drain well.
- To make the vinaigrette: combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar or bowl and shake or whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, vegetables, olives, feta, chickpeas, parsley and kale. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine thoroughly. Taste and see if you need more salt, pepper or lemon or olive oil. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Source: Adapted slightly from Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Everyday