Hey, guess what? The Fourth of July is coming up! And what does that mean? Well, it means fireworks, America, and of course, cookouts.
Do you need an awesome side dish for all your cookout needs? Look no further. This pasta salad is DELICIOUS, easy to make in bulk, and is served cold so it can be made ahead of time and pulled right out of your fridge before serving. Plus, it’s 100% real, clean, and unprocessed! (side note: green goddess pasta salad is another great option for a clean side dish.) It’s a salty-sweet flavor combination that’s awesome for a hot summer’s day.
When I was in grad school, my mother made me a lovely binder full of all her favorite recipes- things we ate as kids, staples from my grandparents, and her favorite Greek recipes. It’s my favorite non-cookbook cookbook, and I keep adding things in the extra plastic sleeves, like my mother-in-law’s recipe for crustless broccoli cheddar quiche. My sister and I both had our favorite salads that were named after us- Katherine’s salad was a spinach salad with nuts and mandarin oranges (delicious), and my salad was antipasto pasta salad. I adapted this recipe from my mother’s to make it real and use what I had available.
The original recipe called for salami and a dressing with 1/4 cup of sugar- both processed ingredients. Instead of salami (usually, salami contains nitrates or nitrites- carcinogens that you DEFINITELY want to stay away from), I used roasted tomatoes and zucchini. Instead of sugar, I substituted honey. The beautiful thing about this pasta is that you can adjust it in countless ways and it will remain delicious because of the awesomeness of the dressing- try adding sun dried tomatoes, salami or pepperoni with no preservatives, omitting the cheese to make it vegan, or adding other roasted veggies such as peppers, onions, or broccoli.
Since switching to a (mostly) real food diet, I’ve adapted tons of recipes to meet the real food criteria. It gets easier and easier every time! Do any of you have any success stories for adapting recipes or tricks you use when substituting real food ingredients for processed ones? Please leave them in the comments below! :-)
Antipasto Pasta Salad (with chickpeas, olives, and roasted vegetables)
- 16 oz. rotini or penne, macaroni, or other pasta shape
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1-2 zucchini halved or quartered
- 15 oz. canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 20 olives pitted and roughly chopped or sliced
- 8 oz. mozzarella or provolone cheese cubed (omit for vegan option)
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for roasting vegetables
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for roasting vegetables
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper plus more for roasting vegetables
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions. Drain when cooked and rinse with cool water.
- Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Add chickpeas, olives, and cheese to the bowl.
- When pasta and vegetables are done cooking, add to bowl and mix together.