Pesto Mediterranean Pasta Salad (serves 4-6)
-Approx. 4 cups of vegan pasta (a ton of pastas are egg-free, but make sure to double-check!)
-1 cup cucumbers, chopped
-2 roma tomatoes, chopped
-1/3-1/2 red onion, finely diced (taste as you go, some red onions are stronger than others)
-1-2 tbsp of capers (taste as you go)
-1/3 cup black olives
-hefty cup of chickpeas
-1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 packed cups basil leaves, fresh (I got mine from my garden)
-1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
-2-4 garlic cloves
-2 tbsp nutritional yeast (gives the pesto a parmesan-y flavour)
-1 tsp salt
-2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-juice of half or full lemon (I like a really lemony-pesto)
*optional: add a bit of almond/nut milk if the pesto seems too thick to be drizzled over the salad
1. Either rehydrate chickpeas overnight in fridge (if dry) or rinse and drain from the can (I prefer dried chickpeas because they are cheaper, and I can get them in a reusable container at grocery stores/Bulk Barn).
2. Toss chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet in oven at 400° (I usually put the chickpeas in the oven straight away, letting them cook as the oven preheats). Check every 10 minutes until they've reached your desired crispiness (mine took about 25 minutes, but it really depends on the oven and your preference). Set aside.
3. Boil pasta according to package instructions.
2. Blend all pesto ingredients together in a blender or food processor (if your blender/processor is a bit on the weaker/older side, I'd recommend soaking the cashews in hot water for 30 min. first).
3. Toss the cooked pasta with all of the ingredients.
4. Drizzle pasta with pesto. Serve room temperature or cold.
5. Enjoy at a BBQ, the beach, or in your bed with a glass of wine (so far, I've done all 3).