I know I’ve been complaining about the summer heat and I stand by what I’ve said! BUT I can admit that there are a few perks to this summer season. One of them is it’s BBQ season! Almost any type of protein, and veggie for that matter, tastes amazing on the grill. I love the smell of the smoke and the char… So good.
But every BBQ needs at least one, if not several, awesome side dishes to compliment what’s happening on the grill. Oftentimes, pasta salad is an easy go-to. It doesn’t need to stay warm and it’s appealing to most guests, young or old. BUT traditional pasta salad is NOT the healthiest option. Which is unfortunate because it’s actually quite easy to create an awesome and healthy BBQ meal because grilled meat and veggies are not only tasty but also good for you!
So, I decided to create a pasta salad worthy of sitting next to some amazing BBQ on your plate. This salad is free of inflammatory vegetable oil dressings and mayos. It’s packed with fresh herbs, veggies, protein and healthy fats. And no gluten in sight! Honestly, not only would this dish make an excellent addition to a BBQ party but it also stands on its own and would make great leftovers for a quick and healthy lunch!
So I happened to find this awesome gluten free AND organic pasta at Big Lots. But you can find it online here as well. It’s only ingredients are organic corn and organic rice flour. And it’s got great taste and texture. Pro tip: I cook mine longer than the instructions on the box. It can tend to keep a bite to it, so especially for a pasta salad, I like to give it some extra cooking time.
Also, because a lot of the ingredients in this salad are jarred/canned or packaged it’s important to purchase good quality products. The artichokes I used were non GMO and did not use any canola or soy oil. I also wanted to pack a big nutrient punch into my pesto so I used organic basil, kale and olive oil. I used Applegate Uncured Salami. It’s gluten free and great quality as well as taste. I highly recommend it, but any gluten free uncured salami will work!
Try it out for your next BBQ or summer get together! Or just make it and keep it all to yourself! Either way I hope you enjoy it!
GLUTEN FREE ANTIPASTO PASTA SALAD WITH BASIL KALE PESTO
1 12 oz box gluten free organic rotini or penne (or regular organic pasta of your choice)
2 T chopped (or 1/4 cup sliced) olives
1/4 cup pimentos
1 7.5 oz jar of marinated artichokes + 2 tablespoons liquid
1 cup grape tomatoes halved
3/4 cup pearl mozzarella
10 slices gluten free, uncured salami cut into ribbons
For the pesto:
1 cup packed fresh basil leavs
1 cup packed kale leaves (I used rainbow kale)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt boiling water and add pasta. If using gluten free pasta, cook for 10-12 minutes or until desired texture. Drain and rinse pasta in cold water.
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients for your pesto except for the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to combine. Then on a low setting slowly stream in your olive oil until fully combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add your cooked pasta and pesto to a large bowl and mix. Add your olives, pimentos, artichokes, mozzarella and halved tomatoes.
Take your salami slices and roll them into a tube. Begin to slice the tube into ribbons and add to the pasta salad.
Mix to combine all ingredients. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Keep chilled until ready to serve and enjoy!