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Turmeric-Tahini Pasta Salad

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Recipe by Samah Dada

On the way home from our long, hard days at elementary school, my sister and I would frequently ask our mom to buy us pasta salad from Bristol Farms, a grocery store in our town. This was the pasta salad of dreams, people. Key features included ripe cherry tomatoes and cubed and creamy mozzarella, all covered in an Italian dressing. There was some celery in there, too, which I ate, mostly because the pasta was redeeming enough to house it. Personally, I love cold pasta and think calling it “pasta salad” just makes us feel better about the fact that we are eating pasta straight from the fridge. While pasta salad typically rides on a mayo base, I decided to use a creamy tahini-based sauce, with turmeric and cumin (my spice weapons of choice).

Purchase the Dada Eats cookbook and spice bundle to get all the essential spices needed for this recipe!
Serves 3-4

pasta salad
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
8 ounces short pasta, such as penne, rotini, or farfalle
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Spicewalla Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 cups Tuscan kale, stems removed, chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Ground Cumin
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered, for garnish

sauce
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon Spicewalla Ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Spicewalla Ground Cumin
1/8 teaspoon Spicewalla Ground Cayenne (if you like a spicy kick)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

preparation
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente according to the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta, transfer it to a large bowl, and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to prevent sticking. Set it aside to cool.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Once it shimmers, add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until it gets a bit of golden color. Add salt, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes.
3. Add the kale to the pan. Give it a nice swirl so that the olive oil coats it, then cover the pan and let the kale cook until it wilts and becomes tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir frequently throughout this cooking process!
4. Once the kale is tender, remove it from the pan and set it aside to cool. Clean the pan, then add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil shimmers after a few seconds, add the chickpeas, cumin, and a pinch of salt to taste. Cook until the chickpeas start to brown slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool along with the kale and garlic.
5. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric, cumin, cayenne (if desired), and salt and pepper. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water to help the sauce thin and mix together smoothly. Feel free to add an extra splash or two of water to achieve your desired consistency.
6. Now for our assembly! Add the sauce to your cooled pasta and mix well to incorporate. Next add the cooled kale, garlic, and chickpeas to the pasta. Mix so that everything is combined.
7. Top with the quartered cherry tomatoes and serve.

salad

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