So it seems like my flavor moods recently have been closely related. Today I’m going from my past two middle eastern focused recipes and making my way to the edge of Europe. Greece, to be more specific.
In all honesty this was totally not planned. In fact, I first made this recipe over a month ago and everyone loved it but that day happened to be one of the darkest and rainiest days ever so trying to capture it in pictures just didn’t happen. I’m actually kind of embarrassed to admit to you guys that I took not just one, not two, but a whopping THREE different sets of photos for this salad. That’s probably a record even for me. Yeah, and I know that probably makes me sound a little obsessive but for some reason this pasta was just not photogenic at all and I hated the way it was looking. I’m still not thrilled with these pics but they’re at least a little better than the last.
Like I said, the first time I made this was over a month ago but the photos were awful. I decided to go ahead and type out the recipe anyway so that I wouldn’t forget to share it. That’s also one of the ways that I try motivating myself to make a photo shoot work even when I want to scratch the whole thing.
I was getting backed up on some things last week and really needing something simple to fix for lunch and that’s when I remembered this salad and decided to give it another chance to pose for me. I shot a second set of photos that morning but later I realized that I’d forgotten to add a few of the ingredients that I wanted in the recipe so I had to take a whole new set of pictures later that day. Fine, maybe I am a little obsessive sometimes, but enough about my ongoing photography issues. Let’s talk about this pasta salad!
Did you know that you can buy chia pasta? Yeah, and it’s really good too. I used a brand that is made and sold here in Chile but I’m sure you can find similar brands wherever you live. Oh and can I just say, thinking of Chilean things reminds me how pasta salad is a pretty funny subject down here. The last time my mom took a bowl of it to a ladie’s gathering with some local friends, well, they didn’t really get it.
She actually had someone ask her when and how you’re supposed to eat it (in a way that implied they’d never eat it). I think it’s safe to say we won’t try that one again since we’ve figured out that cold pasta is clearly far outside the bounds of Chilean cuisine and they find it really weird. I feel like this is becoming the story of my life in food the longer I live here. Hey, more for us, right?
If you can’t find chia pasta you could just use regular fusilli or use any shape and type of pasta you like for that matter. It doesn’t necessarily have to be chia pasta. Although I did love using it and I recommend you try it if you stumble upon it at your local grocery store at some point (I’m not advertising anything btw, purely my own opinion here).
As for the other ingredients in this salad, they’re all really simple things that you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. Just some super simple prep work and your all set. K, then you make a quick and easy tzatziki sauce and that’s what really brings the whole thing together and makes it so delicious. I didn’t even know half my family liked cucumbers so much until the first time I tried the stuff. Personally, when it comes to the world of veggies, they’re lower down on my list of faves but somehow when you add them to the other things in the tzatziki it creates a sauce that I completely fell in love with at first taste.
In one of the earlier takes that I made of this recipe I added some avocado and in another one I thought I’d skip the olives for the haters in my gang.
Greek Tzatziki Chia Fusilli Pasta Salad
- 1 cup unsweetened plain cashew yogurt
- 1/4 veganaise
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 large cucumber quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 400 g 14oz chia fusilli pasta (use gluten free if needed)
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small red onion diced
- 2 medium ripe avocados, pitted and cubed
- 1 large tomato diced
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves chopped
- sea salt freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients for ztatziki in a blender or food processor and pulse until nearly smooth but not quite. Pour into a bowl or container and place in fridge until ready for it.
Bring about 5 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a medium pot and add the pasta. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes (a little less if using regular noodles) until just al dente. You want the noodles to still have enough bite left so that they won't get soggy when they absorb the liquid in the salad. Pour into a mesh strainer to drain and rinse in very cold water to stop the cooking, then pour into a large bowl.
Add the salad ingredients and the ztatziki to the pasta and gently toss to combine. Chill salad in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Alternatively you can heat it up and serve it warm if you prefer.