Greek Pasta Salad with Chickpeas

Serves 4

2 cups raw rotini pasta

1 large pinch plus 1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

¼ tsp. dry dill or ¾ tsp. fresh dill

¼ tsp. granulated garlic

¼ tsp. cracked black pepper

1 tsp. brown or Dijon mustard

1 medium cucumber, half of the skin removed, seeded and sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup Kalamata olives, halved

¼ medium red onion, julienne

2 tbsp. green onion, sliced

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed or 1 ½ cups cooked garbanzos

2-3 tbsp. feta or goat cheese (optional)

Begin by boiling the pasta in a medium pot with a lot of water and a large pinch of salt. Pastas cook best with as much water as possible. While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing by putting the remaining tsp. of salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dill, garlic, black pepper and mustard in a small bowl and whisking until well combined. Place the dressing in the refrigerator to chill. When the pasta has been cooked to al dente, strain it and return the pasta in the strainer to the empty pot. Run cold water over the pasta to shock it and allow the pot to fill with water. When the pasta has cooled, strain again, put it back in the pot. Add the rest of the vegetables along with the garbanzo beans to the pasta pot, dress the salad and put the pot in the refrigerator to marry for at least a half an hour. Put the salad in a serving vessel and top with cheese if desired.

This is how you eat fresh vegetables! This recipe works great with gluten-free pasta and would be a popular fresh offering at a gathering. If omitting the pasta is preferred, just up the veggies and the chickpeas. The dressing itself would also be great on a green salad.