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Italian Pasta Salad

For a gluten free, dairy free healthy salad recipe that is full of flavor and totally customizable, make this Italian Pasta Salad.
Author: Laura Marzen, RD

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup slivered red onion
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 8.8- ounce box gluten free chickpea rotini or your favorite gluten free rotini
  • 1 medium red sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¾ cup jarred, marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced uncured salami, chopped
  • ½ cup drained pitted green and/or kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon olive juice (from either the green or kalamata olives)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh basil and/or Italian (flat-leaparsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (optional)

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl combine red onion, vinegar, and salt. Press down on the onions to make sure all are covered by the vinegar. Cover; let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes or chill in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
  • Meanwhile, cook rotini in boiling salted water until rotini is to desired doneness. (NOTE: I cook the Barilla chickpea rotini for 11 minutes and it tastes great!). Drain rotini; rinse with cold water to cool the pasta quickly. Drain well.
  • In a large bowl combine drained pasta, the sweet pepper, tomatoes, artichokes, salami and olives (but not the juice). Use a fork or slotted spoon to transfer the red onion slivers from the vinegar mixture to the pasta mixture; reserve vinegar in the bowl.
  • For vinaigrette, add olive juice, olive oil, garlic, and oregano to vinegar mixture in bowl. Whisk until well combined. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper. Pour vinaigrette over pasta salad. Stir until well combined. Serve right away or cover and chill up to 24 hours at this point.
  • Just before serving, stir in basil and, if desired, pine nuts. If desired, garnish the top with extra freshly ground pepper.

Notes

Remember, you can easily make this salad taste exactly like you want! Don’t like olives? Leave them out and add a smidge more salt. Want more veggies? Add more and use a bit less pasta. Love pine nuts? Add twice as much as I call for. I think you get the idea! Have fun with it!
Yield: 11 cups (10 to 12 servings)