At the beginning of the year, I set three food goals for myself. 1)Cook a meal for another family once each month. 2)Buy from my local farmers market at least once per month. 3)Bake a bread recipe of one sort or another each month. Friends, COVID-19 has seriously interrupted these plans! Social distancing, businesses (and the farmers markets) closed, and difficulty finding flour in the stores. I will revisit these goals when I am able to but in the mean time, I have been focusing on simple recipes.
Fancy ingredients and complicated cooking techniques are not prerequisites to a good meal. In fact, some of my favorite dishes are made quickly with just a handful of ingredients. With this in mind, along with my yearning for farmers market produce, I’ve created my easy pasta salad. There is also some versatility in this recipe. You can use whatever small pasta you can get your hands on. Eat it as a side dish, or add your favorite protein to make it your entree. And once you can go to your farmers market again, be sure to show your support and buy your ingredients for this one from your local farmers.
Easy Pasta Salad
- 1 lb small pasta such as orecchiette, shells or elbow noodles
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (divided) olive oil
- 15 oz canned chickpeas
- 12 oz small tomatoes – mixed variety, halved
- 1 medium cucumber, cut into 1/4" slices then quartered
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Optional: protein such as tofu, grilled bratwurst, or grilled chicken
- Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta then rinse with cold water until cooled.
- Transfer pasta to a large bowl and stir together with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber and red onion then toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, Italian herb seasoning and salt. Pour over pasta and gently stir until pasta is evenly coated. Top with protein of choice if desired.