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Potluck Pasta Salad


Warning!  This salad is HUGE, so make sure you're making it when there's a few people around to serve it to, or cut the recipe in half if it better suits your needs.  With 2 adults and 5 kids in the house, I often tend to make large quantities of things!  I made this salad for a birthday party potluck, which was perfect, but be sure to let everyone know that the dressing does contain nuts, or if you know you're taking it somewhere where there may be nut allergies, you can always sub the cashews for another avocado half.

My biggest tip for this pallet pleasing pasta salad is to make it a few hours ahead of time, or even the night before, so that the strong flavours in the dressing have time to blend together as it chills.  It's always better the second day I find.  If you eat it right after you make it, you may find the flavour a bit too strong.

Now...here's how it's done.  Grab some pasta.  I used this stuff today(which I love and makes me feel like I'm in Italy when I eat it), but you can use whatever kind you like.  I love Pea Pasta, Lentil Pasta and Chick Pea Pasta if I'm wanting to go gluten-free or just change it up a bit.  Pea or Edamame pastas are extra awesome, because they vamp up the green factor once the salad is all mixed up!  I use this whole bag of pasta for this salad, which is 500g dry, and 8 generous cups once cooked.  Cook your pasta according to package directions, then rinse with cold water (this helps the pasta not stick together) and let drain and cool (I went and had a short nap at this point...and yes, I'm totally serious).


Once you wake up (ahem)...throw all the dressing ingredients (except the Italian seasoning) into a high speed blender.  You could even throw the Italian seasoning in with the rest, I just like stirring it in after to keep some bigger pieces of seasoning.  Somehow I think it gives it more flavour.  Just my own personal preference.  Once you have stirred in the Italian seasoning, let the dressing chill in the fridge while you put together the rest of the salad.


Rinse and drain a can of chick peas, and roast in a frying pan over medium heat until slightly browned.  Transfer to a plate (or somewhere they can spread out a bit) and let them cool.


In a mesh strainer, run frozen peas under hot water for about a minute.  Let drain well and set aside.  Grate your carrot, and set aside as well.


Put your cooled pasta in a large mixing bowl, and then put your cooled roasted chick peas, green peas, carrots and dressing on top.


Toss your salad and place in a serving bowl.  Let cool in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (I recommend overnight) for all flavours to have time to blend.  Garnish with avocado & tomato when serving if desired.


Enjoy!  

xoxo ~ Lise-Anne {Plum Planted}

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Potluck Pasta Salad
By Lise-Anne Michel {Plum Planted}
Makes 10 - 1 cup servings
Plant Based, Vegan option, Dairy-free, Oil-free, Refined Sugar-free

Dressing:
1/2 c. packed spinach
1/2 an avocado
1/4 c. whole raw cashews
1 large clove of garlic
1/4 t. sea salt
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T raw unpasturized honey*
3/4 c. water
1/2 T Italian seasoning

Salad Ingredients:
500g dry pasta (equivalent of 8 generous cups cooked)
1 19 oz (540 ml) can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 c. frozen green peas
1 large carrot, grated
avocado & tomato for garnish (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Method:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Rinse with cold water.  Let dry and cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
2. In a high speed blender, combine all dressing ingredients (except the Italian seasoning).  Transfer dressing to a small bowl and stir in Italian seasoning.  Place dressing in the fridge to allow flavours to blend.
3. Transfer rinsed and drained chick peas to a frying pan over medium heat and cook until slightly browned, stirring frequently.  Transfer to a plate or other surface where they can spread out to cool while you prepare the other salad toppings.
4. In a mesh strainer, rinse frozen green peas with hot water for about 1 minute, or until thawed through.
5. Place pasta in a large mixing bowl.  Top with roasted chick peas, green peas, grated carrot and dressing.  Toss.
6. Place tossed salad in a large serving bowl and let chill in refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to allow the flavours to blend thoroughly.
7. Garnish with avocado and tomato if desired, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve!

Recipe Tips:
* If you are Vegan and don't eat honey, sub with pure maple syrup.

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