I’ve recently started teaching cooking classes at a local health centre. One of the things that I stress to my students is how versatile recipes are. I encourage my students to play with their food, adapt the recipes and make them their own.
When I was a kid, my mom’s “go to” dish for potlucks was pasta salad. I remember helping her dice celery, red pepper and onion. I remember mixing up italian dressing and sprinkling grated cheese on top. The recipe was one that she had perfected over the years and was always pretty much the same– Rotini pasta, sliced black olives, celery, onion, red pepper, cheddar cheese and italian dressing.
Years later, long after I had moved out of my parents’ house and had become a mother myself, my mom started asking me to bring pasta salad whenever we would come for dinner. At first I was intimidated– There’s now way my pasta salad can compare to my mom’s pasta salad!?!?! Then I decided to make the pasta salad my own.
My pasta salad is constantly evolving. It’s different each time depending on what ingredients I have in my fridge, what kind of vinegar is calling my name from my pantry and depending how much time I have to make it.
Today I decided to share with you one of my family’s favorite pasta salad recipes. I’d say that this is the pasta salad variation that my family has come to think of as “Crystal’s Pasta Salad.” I encourage you to play with the recipe, add flavors that you love and make it your own. This recipe is a great weekend recipe. The caramelized onions, roasted bell peppers and oven dried tomatoes take time to make, but fill your home with a delicious aroma and are well worth the wait!
After my recent weight loss I started making this pasta salad with Catelli Gluten Free pasta. My family didn’t notice the difference. When I pointed out to them that the pasta was gluten free my mom commented “This is gluten free? I’m going to start buying gluten free pasta all the time!”
Read on for my recipe!
- 1 box Catelli Gluten Free Macaroni
- 2 large sweet bell peppers
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 sweet onions diced
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil for dressing, plus approximately 3 tablespoons for roasting vegetables and chickpeas
- 6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
- Halve your grape tomatoes and place them on a baking sheet tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Follow directions for my oven dried tomatoes recipe. Alternatively, rehydrate a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, and chop roughly. Set aside.
- Seed 2 bell peppers, cut into quarters, lay on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and put under the broiler, preheated to 500F until the skins blister and turn black. Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with saran wrap and put in fridge to cool. When peppers are cool to the touch, remove the blackened skins and chop the peppers roughly. Set aside.
- Open 1 can of chickpeas, put in colander to drain the liquid. Rinse with cool water, allow to drain again and then transfer to a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Roast at 375F for 35-45 minutes or until chickpeas are crunchy tossing a few times during cooking process. Set aside.
- Dice 2 sweet onions and caramelize.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add Catelli Gluten Free Macaroni. Stir and let pasta boil for 5 minutes or until the pasta is perfectly al dente. Drain, rinse with cool water and then drain again.
- Combine 6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in a measuring cup. Whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl combine, pasta, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, feta and onions. Toss gently until combined. Drizzle with dressing and toss again.
- Serve topped with chickpea “croutons”
Catelli Gluten Free pasta is a unique blend of quinoa, corn, brown rice and white rice. It’s produced in a dedicated gluten free facility. The ingredients are all GMO free and are certified by the Canadian Celiac Association’s Gluten-Free Certification Program. The flavor is delicious and the texture is smooth. My kids have no idea they are eating a gluten free pasta. Catelli Gluten Free pasta is available at major retailers across Canada with a recommended retail price of $2.99. Want to try it out? Our Canadian readers can find a coupon for $1.00 off here.
Want to try creating an original gluten free pasta recipe of your own? Share your recipe on Catelli’s Facebook page between May 4-31, 2015 for your chance to win a 1 year supply of gluten free pasta courtesy of Catelli!
Tell me… Do you have a favorite recipe from your childhood that you’ve adapted to be your own?
Disclosure: I’m participating in a Catelli Recipe contest with this post. Thank you to Catelli for sending me gluten free pasta to use in my recipe.