Tons of protein and flavour in this vegan rigatoni and chickpea salad.
Pan fried chickpeas with vegetables and tender rigatoni blanketed in a zingy, dairy-free creamy dressing. Wonderful for summer outings or lunch any day.
I've kept this one simple with only some tomatoes and red onion, but this salad works wonderfully with other vegetables as well. Try adding sweet corn kernels, green peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli florets, etc.
As stated, this is a vegan salad with the creaminess and thickness of the dressing coming from cashews. In order to achieve this, the cashews need to be soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator. But if you forget like I always do, soaking them in a bowl of very hot water for at least 30 to 40 minutes will soften them up enough for blending.
Speaking of blending, to get the smoothest dressing, a very high-powered blender is your best friend. Most people don't think they can afford a Vitamix (neither did I for a long time), but if you buy directly from the company, it can be paid off in monthly installments. I'm not sponsored by them but having a Vitamix is lifechanging!
(Makes 8 servings)
12oz uncooked rigatoni, prepared (gluten-free if needed)
1, 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 can (540ml) chickpeas, rinsed and well drained
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water, or more to thin as needed
2 tablespoons vegan parmesan, finely shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a large pot, prepare the rigatoni according to package instructions. Use the 1/2 teaspoon sea salt indicated in the ingredients. Once the rigatoni is al dente, drain the water and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Toss to coat evenly. Set aside to cool. While the pasta cools, continue with the rest of the recipe.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chickpeas. Sauté, stirring frequently until the chickpeas are heated through and becoming golden. Remove from heat and transfer to a paper lined plate. Set aside.
Using a high-powered blender, add the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Add only enough water to get the dressing to the consistency of cooking cream.
In a salad bowl, toss together the rigatoni, chickpeas, and vegetables. Drizzle over with the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Serve.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
total calories = 304 | total fat = 12.22g | saturated fat = 1.46g | cholesterol = 0mg | sodium = 328.82mg | net carbohydrates = 40.47g | dietary fibre = 4.98g | sugars = 6.46g | protein = 9.91g