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Pasta Salad That’s Easy, Healthy, & Packed With Protein
Can you believe I’ve never made pasta salad before? Okay, maybe you can. I’m not exactly the most apt person in the kitchen. I make a few staple dishes adequately well, but I’m not that mom who always (or even half of the time) has a full and healthy dinner ready by dinnertime. It’s just not my talent. What my talent is, however, is finding awesome food products that take little to no effort to prepare, and that I can feel good serving my family. In fact, some of the healthy products I find practically land in my lap, like this protein-rich pasta that introduced itself to me through the magic of the interwebs. I’m thrilled to have been chosen as an ambassador for this campaign, bringing truly healthy and easy food to light for families.
Chickapea Pasta is fantastic for a few reasons. It’s made with only two ingredients – organic chickpeas and organic red lentils. Hello healthy proteins! It’s entirely organic, gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO. It contains no added sugar, and is made in a nut-free facility. All these pros make it ideal for families with a wide range of dietary restrictions. With all the complex carbs, thiamine, folate, niacin, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc and antioxidants in Chickapea, this staple is also a superfood. Each serving of pasta contains 23 grams of protein, 11 grams of fibre, and 40% of your daily iron intake. With a super speedy cook time, all of those great nutrition benefits are ready quickly and conveniently, which is essential for busy families. (What family isn’t busy these days?)
Chickapea Pasta is made by a Canadian mama who, as I’ve experienced, was frustrated with the lack of healthy and convenient food choices available for families. She took a year researching and developing, got her idea on Kickstarter to raise the funds, and now has big plans to expand and grow her healthy food choices through her parent company, Earth To Kids. Chickapea is just the beginning.
I know that now you know all those awesome details about Chickapea Pasta, you’ll want to get some for yourself. It’s already in large demand at health food stores all over Canada, and will be expanding in the US this fall. You can find out where to buy Chickapea Pasta here. If there’s no store near you that carries the pasta yet, you can print off a product request form right there, and take it in to your local food store.
Being that it’s so hot out here right now, I couldn’t bring myself to make a hot pasta dish, so I opted to make a pasta salad with the samples of Chickapea Pasta I received this month. Since there is a collection of recipes to try on the Chickapea website, I chose this Simple Shallot Pasta Salad recipe and got to work. As per usual, my cooking style and pantry stock led me to improvise the original recipe. The altered recipe you’ll find below is what I ended up using, doing, and making to create my very first pasta salad.
Protein-Rich Pasta Salad You Can’t Ruin
Ingredients (I’ve crossed out the ingredients I didn’t have and replaced them with what I actually used):
1 227g package of Chickapea Pasta
2 shallots, diced 5 green onions, chopped
1 cup olive oil – I could not believe it would take a cup of oil, so I only used a ½ cup and it was still way too much oil. I’d try ¼ cup next time.
½ cup pine nuts
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 1 ½ red bell peppers, diced
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup red wine vinegar – As with the oil, I thought this was too much and used a ½ cup, which was still too much.
Salt and pepper, to taste
What you do:
If you take a look at the original recipe I’ve linked to above, you’ll see that my method is much simpler. I like to cut corners in my meals, because cooking isn’t my thing and the faster and easier I can get food on the table the better.
Boil pasta in water. Now, something else you should know about my undomesticated culinary “skills” is that I often forget that I’m cooking. Totally unsafe, and often leads to ruined meals. This forgetfulness happened the evening I made this pasta, and instead of boiling it for 5 minutes and checking (cooking time is 5-7 minutes), I ended up remembering the pasta somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes. (Note to self: Always set the timer!) I thought I destroyed the pasta and considered tossing it, but it was already getting late so I just went ahead and carried on.
Chop green onions, peppers, and basil. (Ideally one would do this while the pasta is boiling, instead of getting distracted elsewhere.)
Add onions, peppers, basil, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to the cooled pot of (over)cooked pasta and mix.
Enjoy! You can refrigerate the pasta salad for up to three days.
Remarkably, even with the way overcooked pasta and the excess of oil and vinegar, the pasta salad was amazing! Both me and my husband ate up everything on our plates. Even my 2.5-year-old (who is skeptical about pasta) ate up almost her whole bowl, which is unusual for any dinner around here. Before I added the rest of the ingredients, I took out some plain cooked pasta for her and added chopped red pepper and grated cheese on top, as she’s not a fan of onions or vinegar. I was surprised to hear my hubby bring up the pasta the next day, mentioning that it was actually a really good dish and the pasta tasted great. (He can be picky about how pasta is cooked and it’s texture, and over-cooked, gluten-free pastas have not been his favourite so far.)
So there you have it, folks. Whether you’re a skilled chef or a culinary disaster like myself, Chickapea Pasta just may be the healthy pasta staple you’ve been looking for. Nutritious, delicious, gluten-free, sugar-free, organic, non-GMO, and remarkably resilient in the face of a sub-par cook.
I can’t wait to see what I’ll be trying next with Chickapea. They may just make a passable cook out of me yet!
Disclosure: This post has been proudly sponsored by Chickapea Pasta. However, all of the above thoughts, words, and experiences are my own. As always, I strive to share only about products and experiences that I believe are worthwhile and beneficial. You can find my full disclosure policy here.