Let’s Make Pasta Salad with Chickpeas & Feta
I have a lot to say about pasta salad. I can love them – and then there are those that rub me the wrong way. I am going to make sure that you have great success with this Fusilli Pasta Salad with Chickpeas & Feta!
What’s Wrong With Pasta Salad?
First of all, what goes into a pasta salad is not what bugs me. It is the pasta itself. I am not partial to pasta salad that has been refrigerated.
The pasta gets hard and it is light years away from freshly made.
So I will encourage you to make this pasta salad within a few hours of serving – and I will give you some tips for resurrecting refrigerated pasta salad – but I had to get my pet peeve out of the way.
Now, this pasta salad has a lot going for it. Did the title get you – Fusilli Pasta Salad with Chickpeas & Feta? The combination of pasta and chickpeas means that this is an especially hearty dish – I like it as much as a light entrée as I do a side dish.
It is quite the complete experience with the juicy tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
Speaking of cucumbers, I like the small Persian style cukes as their skin is tender – no need to peel – and they are practically seedless.
They are the perfect small diameter, as well. If you don’t have them in your market, no worries. I have given you a weight amount; just buy what you need and cut into bite-sized pieces.
This is the perfect dish to bring to a party because everyone loves it and you will know that you won’t go hungry!
We have to address the peppers; neither Monash University not FODMAP Friendly have lab tested orange peppers at this time and reported the results publicly. However, we do know that orange peppers have been used in low FODMAP certified prepared meals offered by various companies and that those meals are certified by Monash. This means there is some low FODMAP amount of orange peppers; we just do not know the exact amount.
If you are stable and in your Challenge Phase, why not try the orange peppers? An alternative would be yellow peppers, which have been lab tested by FODMAP Friendly and are low FODMAP in 24 g portions.
I have asked you for fresh dill and fresh mint for this salad. It is a refreshing combination that I happen to like very much. If you want to use dill only, simply add 2 more tablespoons of dill.
Zapping Pasta Salad
Oh yeah, so what if you need to refrigerate your salad before serving? My suggestion is to zap it in 10 second bursts in your microwave until it softens up a bit and comes to a true room temperature.
You have to know your microwave well so that you don’t start cooking the pasta salad, but this trick can work quite well when you get it right.
Fusilli Pasta Salad with Chickpeas & Feta
This Fusilli Pasta Salad with Chickpeas & Feta is hearty with the inclusion of protein packed chickpeas, in a low FODMAP amount, of course.
- 12 ounces (340 g) low FODMAP fusilli pasta, such as that made from rice flour
- 1, 15.5 ounce (439 g) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again
- 1/2 pound (439 g) feta, (I like sheep’s milk but you can use any kind), drained and cubed
- 1/2 dry pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup (16 g) finely chopped scallions, green parts only
- 4 9 to 10 ounces total (255 g to 280 g) small Persian style cucumbers
- 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces (see Tips)
- 1/3 cup (about 20 g) finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Dressing: Shake the oil, vinegar and mustard together in a covered jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
For the Pasta Salad: Bring a large pot of salt water to a boil and cook pasta until just al dente, about 10 minutes, but go by texture. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking immediately. Allow to cool briefly, then place in large mixing bowl. While still a bit warm, add a few tablespoons of the dressing and toss to coat. Dressing the pasta while warm will encourage it to absorb some of the dressing, giving you a more flavorful pasta salad. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add the drained chickpeas, feta, tomatoes and scallions to the cooled pasta. Cut off and discard the ends of the cucumbers, then cut then into approximately 1/3-inch (8 mm) rounds crosswise and add to the bowl, along with the pieces of orange bell pepper. Fold in the dill and mint (if using) and dress with more salad dressing to your liking; you might not use it all. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. The pasta salad is ready to serve. You can also refrigerate in an airtight container overnight; make sure to bring to room temperature before serving.
- Note that the sodium level in different feta does vary a lot. You might have to adjust your seasoning.
- Yellow and orange bell peppers have not been lab tested as of this writing. Use a red bell pepper to stay strictly low FODMAP. Refer to our article, What If A Food Has Not Been Lab Tested For FODMAPs? for more information.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.
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