This pasta salad isn’t like most pasta salads I’ve eaten. It’s different…in a good way.
I was trying to think of something easy, fresh and light to bring along to my family Easter pot-luck; but nothing sounded good. I wanted something to counter-balance all the candy I knew I would be eating. I mean…seriously, look at this awesome cake my cousin, Emily made:
Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting...covered with kit-kats and M&M's
I thought a pasta salad would be nice, but I didn’t want to smother it with mayonnaise; nor did I want a traditional Italian vinaigrette. I had cucumber, onion and tomato in my refrigerator–and upon seeing those ingredients, the idea for this salad was born.
There’s a Bengali vegetable “salad” that I’ve blogged about here. It’s fresh, light and everything I wanted; but it needed a little something extra. I dug through the pantry and found some chickpeas and some spiral pasta. I also had a pomegranate on hand.
Beautiful, Red Pomegranate Seeds
I wanted to add some minced fresh garlic, but Piyush thought it might be too pungent. Instead, I cut about 5 cloves in half and threw them in a baking dish with some olive oil and one slit chile. I thought the chile would impart a nice hint of spice…without being in-your-face hot (lots of Scandinavian palates to tend to, you know?).
I dressed the salad with a mixture of chaat masala, lime juice and the garlic-infused oil.
I wasn’t really sure how this salad would go over with my family. My immediate family is scared to death to try anything I make—they say it’s too weird (my mom finds everything spicy. UFFDAH!); so I figured Piyush and I would have plenty of left-overs for work the next day.
In fact, we were looking forward to the left-overs. This salad suited both of our tastes, and it was healthy too! Unfortunately for us, we had no left-overs. The recipe seemed to go over pretty well, and I was glad people at least tried it. This isn’t your typical, American pasta salad…after all!
I noticed a lot of my family members were avoiding the pomegranate seeds. You could leave them out entirely, but I thought they added a nice sweetness and a beautiful color to the dish.
I think this salad would taste really refreshing and light during the hot summer days. It’d be a great dish to bring to a picnic or a pot-luck—or even served as a main-dish meal. I will definitely be making this again, soon!
Indian Pasta Salad
- 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)- rinsed well
- 1 cucumber- seeded and diced
- 3 roma tomatoes- seeded and diced
- 1 medium red onion- diced
- pomegranate seeds
- 3/4 lb. spiral noodles- cooked according to pkg. directions
- 1 lime
- 1/4 c. garlic-oil (recipe follows)
- 2 tsp. chaat masala (or to taste)–available at Indian grocers
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1 serrano chile- slit 2 or 3 times
- 5 cloves of garlic (skins can stay on)-cut in half
To make the oil, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients in a glass baking dish and toss in the oven. Leave the oil in the heated oven for at least 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool.
Once the oil is cooled, strain. You then have garlic infused oil! You can store it in a cool dark place for about a month. Make sure it’s stored in a sealed jar, though!
In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, pomegranate and noodles. Mix well so that everything is coated.
In a separate jar combine the lime juice, garlic-oil, and chaat masala. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously. Now your dressing is done!
Pour the dressing on the salad and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro.
*This salad is best served cold. It is also better if you make it and then allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight. —lets the flavors mingle a little, you know?