Gluten-Free Pasta Salad with Olives, Cauliflower, and Chickpea Pasta

We like to be inclusive here at Our Chaotic Kitchen, and in that spirit we’d like to extend a recipe for gluten-free pasta salad to our gluten-free friends. Over the weekend we saw dried chickpea pasta* at the store, and we had to give it a shot! We also tried making some homemade chickpea pasta ourselves, if you’re feeling adventurous.

*The link above is an associate link at Amazon; if you click and buy something, Amazon will kick a percentage of your purchase back our way.

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad – Delicious and Nutritious

This gluten-free pasta salad is packed with flavor and is healthy as all get-out. We were able to make use of the cauliflower and tomatoes that we got from Hungry Harvest, and topping it off with a nice olive tapenade gave it just the right amount of pizzazz. You could almost call this a deconstructed takeoff on our cauliflower veggie flatbread, if the concept of “deconstructed” dishes were something other than a cruel lie to make diners finish making their own food. But I digress.

Vegan gluten free pasta salad

Ingredients:

Roasted Veggies:

1 pkg chickpea pasta or 1/2 batch of our chickpea flour pasta
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium eggplant, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil

Olive Tapenade:

1 cup olives (green or kalamata, your choice)
1/2 cup nuts
Big handful of fresh herbs (we used parsley and basil)
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss vegetables in olive oil in a large bowl. Once coated, lay out on a lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta and process tapenade in food processor. Toss hot veggies with pasta and tapenade.

Tofu and Chickpea Flour Pasta

We love pasta, but since going mostly vegan and mostly gluten free, it’s been an indulgence that we rarely enjoy, since it’s not quite as healthy as we’d like. One day we wondered if there was a way to make good pasta that was healthy and both vegan and gluten free. We wound up adapting a recipe from Tal Ronnen’s The Conscious Cook, and it came out well! The flavor was great, and the texture was only a little bit more crumbly than run of the mill pasta. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 oz firm tofu (the recipe called for silken, but all we had was regular and it worked fine)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 Tsp salt

3 cups chickpea flour, plus more for dusting

Directions:

Place all ingredients, and 3 Tbsp room temperature water, in a food processor and combine. The mixture will become loose and crumbly, and then it will quickly form a sticky ball. Process for a minute or two. If the ball is overly sticky, break it up and add extra flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. If it is too dry, add a small amount of water, 1 Tsp or so, at a time and process. Once the ball is formed with the right consistency, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. You can refrigerate it this way for up to a day, or freeze it for up to a month.

When ready, take the dough out and process it using a pasta machine of your choice. We used our KitchenAid Pasta Extruder to make spaghetti out of half of the dough, and we froze the other half. Once the pasta is made, cook quickly and briefly in salted boiling water, about 3-4 minutes, and serve. We served ours with kale pesto (watch for that recipe tomorrow!) green beans, and spiralized zucchini noodles. Enjoy!

Inside Out Falafel Wraps

We, like all right-thinking people in this world, love falafel. But we don’t always have time to make it. One workaround we’ve found is to make falafel-spiced patties with chickpea flour. They’re like tiny healthy savory pancakes. They’re not as crunchy, but they’re an 85% solution when we’re craving falafel and don’t have the time or energy to fill a pot with oil and deep fry some (and spatter the stove, and ourselves, with hot oil).

Having used that trick a number of times, we decided to branch out. Since we could make chickpea pancakes, more or less, could we make something closer to chickpea crepes? Could we make ourselves a wrap with falafel toppings on the inside, with a falafel-tasting chickpea crepe holding it all together?

The answer, as it turns out, was an emphatic yes, though it took us a couple of tries to get it just right. So now, without any further ado, we present our brand new vegan, gluten free Inside Out Falafel Wraps!

Ingredients:

Chickpea crepes:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chickpea flour
1 1/2 cups water
Large handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp ras al hanout
1/2 Tsp salt (or to taste)
Juice of one half lemon

Tahini sauce:
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of one lemon
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp salt (or to taste)
Water as needed

Filling:
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Cucumbers, sliced

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Pour a thin layer of the chickpea batter into the pan and let cook until set. Carefully flip it over and cook until done on both sides. The amounts given above made us 5 chickpea crepes.

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In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt until combined. This will be very thick. Slowly add water, whisking continuously, until the desired consistency is reached. We wanted ours to be thick and spreadable. Spread the tahini sauce on the finished crepes.

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Divide the tomato and cucumber among the 5 crepes, lining it all up in the middle. If you prefer different toppings (like shredded carrots, greens, beets, fruit, honey, etc.), go nuts.

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All that’s left is to wrap it up!

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We wrapped ours up in foil, since we needed to store them to take them along for lunches through the week.

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Middle Eastern Mason Jar Salad

The combination of parenting and jobs recently prompted us to get our heads into the extreme food prep game. Mornings run so much more smoothly when we’ve just got to grab lunch and go, especially with all of the time necessary to feed and clothe three often grumpy kids. We’ve gotten pretty good at having healthy vegan lunches and dinners for the week mostly prepped over the weekend.

One of our mainstays is the mason jar salad. It’s healthy and vegan and delicious and, when layered correctly, super easy and fresh. This particular one is inspired by Middle Eastern flavors, but you can easily improvise and put your own spin on one of these bad boys.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp salt
3-4 Tbsp water, more if needed

1 can chickpeas
1 Tsp Ras-al-Hanout*
1 large cucumber, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 bunch of greens

*If you don’t have Ras-al-Hanout, substitute 1/4 Tsp each of paprika, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon

Directions:

First, the dressing. If you’ve never made lemon tahini dressing before, get ready, because it’s magical. Put the tahini into a medium bowl, add the lemon juice, and start stirring. It’s going to get weird and clumpy, but don’t worry. Keep stirring. At some point soon, all of a sudden, it will get smooth and thick and several shades lighter than it started. Magic! At that point, mix in the cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Add a little bit of water at a time and keep mixing until you reach your desired consistency. We like it thin, but not too thin.

In another bowl, toss the chickpeas with the Ras-al-Hanout until they’re well mixed and set aside.

Take 4 clean empty pint jars and first divide the lemon tahini dressing among them. Next, divide the diced cucumbers and tomatoes, followed by the chickpeas, and finally the greens. The order is very important, so that the dressing doesn’t cause the greens to get soggy.

When you want to eat, just upend the whole thing into a bowl, maybe using a spoon to get all the remnants of dressing out on top of your salad, and eat. These generally keep in the fridge for a week or so.