Allez, Cuisine! – Broccoli, Tomato and Chickpea Pasta Salad

Claire Littlefield and Emma Ellis

If there’s nothing for lunch on the Free Food Calendar and you’re tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, this is a great recipe for you. It’s well balanced, with plenty of vegetables, chickpeas for protein and pasta to fill you up. You can make it the night before, eat some for dinner and then throw it in a plastic container to grab on your way out the door the next morning. It’s served cold, so you won’t be running around campus looking for a microwave. Live a little. Treat yourself to a lunch that you’ll really look forward to.

This recipe is really more of a vehicle for your favorite things than anything else, so feel free to experiment with different ingredients. Adding things like olives, minced red onion, beans or cucumber would definitely be great, but get as creative as you’d like. It’s a great recipe to make at the end of the week to clear out any produce you have lingering in the back of your fridge.

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

1/2 lb rigatoni, ziti or orzo

1 head of broccoli

4 medium tomatoes

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

Lemon juice

Vinegar (white, balsamic, cider, etc.)

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Chili powder or red pepper flakes (optional)

Process:

1.  Cook, drain and rinse your pasta. Then lightly coat it in olive oil to make sure it doesn’t stick to itself too much. Rinsing will help with this too because it will wash off the excess starch. Then set the pasta aside.

2.  Start chopping the broccoli into small florets and then core and dice the tomatoes. The exact size doesn’t really matter. You just want to make them bite sized.

3.  The tomatoes are finished and can be set aside, but you need to blanch the broccoli. To do that, bring a pot of water to a boil while you set up a bowl of ice water.

4.  When the water boils, drop in your broccoli florets. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for five to ten minutes until the broccoli is soft enough for you. We tend to like it closer to the five-minute end of the spectrum, when it is still crisp.

5.  Then strain the broccoli and dump it in the ice water. This will shock the broccoli and stop it from cooking any further.

6.  Put the tomatoes, chickpeas, broccoli and pasta into a big bowl.

7.  The next step is dressing the mixture. We like to start with the juice of half a lemon, about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and a dash each of black pepper and chili powder. From there, adjust to your own taste, adding more acidity, salt and spice as necessary.

8.  Your salad will be delicious right away, but it will get even better if you let it chill for at least an hour.

Bonus Points:

Chickpeas are a great addition to any salad, but if you’ve got the time you can make them even tastier by removing their outer husks. The husks are completely edible, but they are a bit tough and detract from the taste of the chickpea within. After you’ve rinsed your chickpeas, let them soak in a bowl of cool water for a minute or two. Then pinch each one between your fingers, and the clear husk will peel off between your fingers.