Mozzarella, Tomato, and Chickpea Pasta Salad

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 24,326
    This salad makes a great healthy lunch time salad for busy days at school or in the office.

    Amy Riolo: Hi! I'm Chef Amy Riolo for Harris Teeter and today, I'm making a mozzarella, tomato and chickpea pasta salad. The ingredients which we'll need are: one pound HT Traders Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta, one pound baby spinach, washed well, three tablespoons HT Traders extra-virgin olive oil, four ounces fresh mozzarella balls, drained, one cup cherry tomatoes, one cup canned Harris Teeter garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed, juice and zest of one lemon, two tablespoons HT Traders Balsamic Vinegar, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

    The first thing that we needed to do to make our pasta salad is to prepare our pasta. Boil a pound of pasta, just according to package directions. Then we'll stop it just about a minute before its al dente or very firm. Then we're going to rinse it under cold water and that prevents the cooking, and then we're going to add it in to our salad.

    So right now, let's get going on the salad portion. Here I have about a pound of baby spinach and I'm going to add in my cherry tomatoes. Now, I'll add in my mozzarella balls and my chickpeas. You can see how beautiful that looks already before we even get our pasta in there.

    Now what I'll do is get my vinaigrette going and I'm going to start that with my balsamic vinegar. I'm going to add my lemon juice to it and then I'm going to whisk the two of those together. Then, while I'm whisking, I'm going to very slowly pour in my olive oil and this just helps to make sure that everything is incorporated. This is a great, easy, freeform salad.

    If you don't want to make your vinaigrette, you could just assemble all of the ingredients by putting them all in together and tossing the salad, it's going to be wonderful, but doing it this way gives you just another technique and shows you how to make a vinaigrette that works also on other salads, not just this one.

    So I'll keep working those together and while I'm continued to whisk, I'll add in my lemon zest, just for some additional flavor. All of the essential oils from the lemon are in the zest. So when you want to get more lemon flavor, all you have to do is add a little bit of lemon zest. Now I'm going to add some freshly ground pepper and little bit of Kosher salt and just stir it and there we have the vinaigrette. So now our pasta has been rinsed and it's cool, so we can go ahead and add it into our salad. Next what I'm going to do is, whisk up the vinaigrette with more time and then I'm just going to pour that right over my salad and then I'll toss everything together. This is great for a picnic or a barbeque, a school lunch. Kids and adults love it, and you can refrigerate until serving.

    So there we have our mozzarella, tomato and chickpea pasta salad. Enjoy!