Summer Time Chi is FINALLY HERE. After a long tease of cold weather and heavy rainfall, Mother Nature caved. It's official. Summer is here, and Chicagoans are celebrating.
And by Chicagoans, I mean my roommates and I ...
This summer, we welcomed a new roommate into the mix. You see, one of my roommates didn't resign our lease. She actually took the next step in her relationship, and moved in with her boyfriend --- TBD on the wedding bells. In light of our loss, we gained another fun-loving roomie. One who neither Emily or I had known prior to the move-in.
Luckily she's a gem and up to speed on what it entails to live with a weirdo (aka a celiac) like me.
However, since she was new to the city and a new addition to our crews, we decided to host another housewarming party to allow all of our friends and Bailey (our new roommate's) friends from Michigan to meet and mingle.
As my friends know, when I throw a party there is always food.
I love a good spread and always try to have options that appeal to everyone with and without food allergies.
Recently, I chatted with a rep at Banza, and they mailed me several boxes of their gluten free chickpea pasta. SERIOUSLY THOUGH GUYS - the pasta is naturally gluten free because it's made with chickpeas.
Composed of only four ingredients, this stuff is loaded with protein and fiber. And by loaded I mean lightyears more than regular pasta, let alone the average gluten free rice or corn pasta. One serving of this stuff has 25g of Protein and 13g of Fiber.
Now because, my pantry is filled with pasta - I thought what better way to welcome our newest edition to the Oakdale family than make a summertime pasta salad to share with the crew! And let's be real -- who doesn't love a good pasta salad at a BBQ??
So friends, I decided to do a lighter, healthier version of the typical dairy and/or mayo filled stuff, opting for a Greek version.
This pasta salad is loaded with broccoli, cauliflower, greek olives, cherry tomatoes, a pinch of feta, and my personal greek salad dressing recipe instead of a mayo based concoction.
It's perfect for your vegetarian friends (YES, he don't eat no meat). And if the carnivores persist, you could easily throw some chicken in this to please the masses, but between you and me, the meat isn't necessary especially since this stuff is already loaded with protein.
Care to try it yourself? Here's what you need to know . . .
Gluten Free Greek Pasta Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side dish and Serves 4 as a main course.
- one box of Banza Gluten Free Chickpea Rotini Pasta - about 4 cups of pasta
- 2 cups of uncooked broccoli (chopped)
- 2 cups of uncooked cauliflower (chopped)
- 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1/2 cup of red onion (diced)
- 1/2 cup of olives (halved) - I used these greek-style olives from Trader Joe's
- 6-7 tbsp of feta cheese
- juice of 2 lemons
Ingredients (greek dressing):
- 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper
First order of business, once you gather all of your ingredients is to prep your pasta.
You know the drill. Bring your water (about 8 cups) to a boil and when the water begins to bubble up, turn down the heat to a medium setting and throw your pasta in.
Now if you have any experience making gluten free pasta, I will say Banza is similar in that it doesn't take long to cook. The box says 7-9 minutes, however, I found mine was ready in 5, so keep an eye on it.
Once your pasta is finished, pour it into a colander and drain out all the excess water, and put it to the side.
From here, you will prep your other dry ingredients. Cut up your broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and olives and place them in a separate bowl. Then dump in your pasta that was sitting in the colander.
Next, you will throw in your feta cheese and squeeze the juice of two lemons in the bowl loaded with pasta, and mix it all up.
Put this to the side, and start your greek dressing.
Good news, the dressing is super simple and you likely already have all the ingredients in your home. Grab a small bowl and put in your olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, spices, and salt and pepper, and simply whisk it until it is completely blended.
Next, pour half of the mixture into your pasta dish, and mix well. Save the other half, and stick your remaining mixture and the pasta into the fridge. (Best practice is to let it sit overnight or at least for 2-3 hours so it cools off.)
Now, once you are ready to serve, top off your pasta with the remaining dressing to ensure it doesn't dry out. Give it one final mix to ensure the dressing is evenly coating the pasta salad, and then, ladies and gents, you can enjoy!