January 12, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
Happy New Year, everyone! I officially went vegan on January 1, 2013, so here’s to 1 full year of veganism!
Pasta salad is an easy go-to for anyone. It’s perfect for big groups and entertaining. You can arrive with a vegan pasta salad to an event and no one will bat an eye. It’s a wonderful “clear the fridge” dish, too, as it is so versatile. Every time I make pasta salad, different veggies go into it, depending on what’s chilling (literally and figuratively) in my fridge.
For a long time, I was going through a trial-and-error period with my pasta salad recipe, particularly the dressing. In the past, I’ve tried to make the dressing from scratch, but something always went wrong. Too lemony. Too tart. Way too much balsamic. Too creamy. Too salty. Too bland. For someone who loves pasta salad so much, I couldn’t seem to get it right. It was a dark place.
Then, my sister and I decided to cook it together one day, and it was PERFECT. Who knew that the answer to my pasta problems was someone so close to home?
Cooking with others is so fun. I always come out of it feeling like I’ve learned something new. So here is the product of collaboration and deliciousness.
Oh yeah, and the Rastafarian thing? This is definitely not an authentic Rastafarian dish by any means. It’s only based on the matching flag colors. 😉
Rasta Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 8 tbs EVOO
- 1 1/2 tbs white wine vinegar (In a pinch, any vinegar will do, really. I used Apple Cider.)
- 2 heaping tsp Veganaise (or as I like to call it, “goops.” Two goops of Veganaise.)
- 2-3 tbs Agave Nectar
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Sriracha
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
- 2 packages of Quinoa Pasta (gluten-free deliciousness; so much better than any GF pasta out there)
- 1-2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup of carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1/2 can, or 7.5 ounces, chickpeas
- salt/pepper as garnish
STEP 1: Cook the pasta.
Start boiling that water and get the pasta started! When your pasta is finished cooking, strain it and run it under cold water. Pasta salad shouldn’t be hot, so cooling off your pasta right after cooking keeps it cool and firm. Set aside or place in the fridge if you are still working on the meal.
STEP 2: Create the magic sauce!
There’s a science behind the sauce, so don’t throw in everything at once and mix.
In a bowl, mix the olive oil and balsamic first. Whisk it quickly for about 30 seconds. This will allow the two opposing ingredients to blend. Add the Veganaise next and whisk, but not like a crazy person this time. Just normal whisking. After that, you may add the other pasta sauce ingredients in any manner you’d like.
STEP 3: Chop up those veggies!
STEP 4: Mix all ingredients.
The fun part! Get a great, big bowl and mix the pasta, pasta sauce, veggies, and chickpeas all together! Add more salt and pepper as needed.