Would you call me crazy if I told you that I’m not the biggest fan of traditional pasta dishes? Don’t answer that. It’s true, though!
As far back as I can remember, pasta has never really held any sort of appeal to me.
If it was pasta night at home? You’d usually find me sitting at the table with a heaping plate of buttered noodles buried under a mound of parmesan cheese. Either that or I’d be begging my mom for a bowl of Kraft Dinner.
What can I say? It’s not that I didn’t like noodles… I was just never a fan of the sauces. As a kid, I loathed vegetables (unless it was corn, potatoes, or raw carrots), so I couldn’t understand why you’d want to ruin a perfectly good bowl of noodles by drowning it in a nasty tomato sauce.
No offense to anyone who likes tomato sauce, of course.
Fast forward a good handful of years, and I’m finally eating my veggies, but I’m still not crazy about tomato sauce… Now it’s more an issue of my stomach hating it rather than me just being a super picky kid, though.
I mean, I like tomatoes well enough, but turn them into a sauce and you’ve just guaranteed me a night curled up on the couch with a bottle of Tums and/or Pepto Bismol within arms reach. Not really my idea of a good time.
Thankfully, there are a vast array of white sauces to add to pasta dishes, because, let’s face it, I’m getting a little too old to be eating buttered parmesan noodles [in public].
I already get enough flack for sometimes opting to eat cereal for dinner, but that’s a whole other story for a whole other day. Actually, no… I can keep going with that train of thought.
See, I like cold food; and I’m not just talking about things like ice cream and smoothies. No matter what kind of dish I cook, I’ll let it cool down to room temperature before I eat it; and if I’m eating leftovers, I usually won’t bother to reheat them. I just find that food tastes better that way…
And now that we’ve got that big whole shpeel about tomato sauce and cold food out of the way, we can start talking about why I think this Chickpea and Avocado Pasta Salad is basically the perfect pasta dish.
First, it’s meant to be eaten cold. In fact, the longer it’s stored in the fridge, the better the flavors and textures become. This makes it a perfect dish for those hot summer days where even the idea of eating a warm meal or spending time in a warm kitchen makes you start to sweat.
This meal can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy it. Perfection.
Second, it’s pasta without the tomato sauce. Yay! Instead, the noodles are coated with a creamy Greek yogurt dressing that’s loaded with garlic and herb flavor.
It’s creamy, tangy, and compliments the chickpeas and avocado perfectly. And if you’re not big on the idea of chickpeas?
You can replace them with some cooked and cubed chicken breasts. Really, anything goes.
My only piece of advice is to avoid adding the avocado until right before you’re ready to eat it. Avocado tends to oxidize and turn brown when exposed to the air, which isn’t a good look for this fresh and vibrant salad.
- ½ pound dry pasta (I used penne)
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. ground pepper
- 1 tsp. dried dill
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Strain and rinse with cold water until the pasta has cooled. Transfer to a large bowl and add chickpeas and tomatoes. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together, adding more seasonings to taste. Pour dressing over the pasta salad and gently toss to combine. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to set in.
- When ready to serve, add in sliced avocado. You want to avoid adding it prior to this so that the avocado doesn't oxidize and turn brown.