Power Pasta Salad [Recipe]

This recipe is actually my mom's creation so I can't take full credit for its deliciousness. She originally devised this concoction because it was cheap, filling and it did not spoil easily on road trips. During my childhood, we used to travel a lot during the summer, across the Atlantic Provinces, for soccer tournaments and Power Pasta became a family favourite. Back then I believe my mom used store bought Italian salad dressing and probably didn't include as many greens, but she was definitely a pioneer when it came to utilizing pulses as an efficient, inexpensive source of protein and healthy carbohydrates. This pasta salad kept her sporty children happy and satiated (without breaking the bank).

As I mentioned, I've made some of my own modifications, but at the heart of this recipe it's simple, filling, and nutrient dense. It's a great meal for active kids, but also for us adults who are looking for easy make-ahead lunch or dinner ideas. 

I haven't had a chance to take a super high quality photo, but I wanted to share this recipe now as I've had many requests.  Power Pasta is gluten free and vegan and can be modified many ways to suit your palate. If you don't like some of the ingredients, omit them, and add in other vegetables or proteins of your choice. Read on for the recipe and be sure report back once you've tried it.

POWER PASTA SALAD

Makes 8-10 servings.

Ingredients:

16 oz/454 g bag brown rice or quinoa spiral or elbow noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 398 ml cans of chickpeas or beans of your choice, drained and rinsed
1 can of water packed artichokes, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
5 cups leafy greens of your choice (I like baby kale, spinach, or arugula), washed and chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled (if not organic) and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup of pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped (optional)
1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons, sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove of garlic (optional)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Add all of the salad ingredients into a very large bowl and mix well to combine.

For the salad dressing: blend the vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, Dijon, salt, pepper, and garlic (if using) in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Once the dressing is ready, slowly pour it over the pasta salad. Stir to ensure that the noodles are well coated.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Keeps in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, if you don't eat it all first.

Notes from the kitchen: At my Loblaws demo I used Rizopia brown rice noodles and they were great!