This salad was inspired by one of my favorite’s growing up. My Aunt would make this salad with roasted vegetables, feta cheese and a ton of oil. Today I found myself craving a hearty pasta salad and decided to recreate this one using no oil, no animal products and all whole foods.
1 lb orzo pasta, cooked
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3 cups chopped Tuscan kale (curly kale)
4 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sea salt (may omit if SOS free)
2 tbsp tahini or cashew butter
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tbsp fresh basil, julienned
3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
juice of 1/2 lemon
First cook your orzo pasta following the directions on the bag. Once its al’ dente, rinse under cold water in a strainer and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
If you cannot find toasted pine nuts, you can toast them yourself. Place 2 ounces of raw pine nuts on medium heat in a non-stick skillet and stir until they start to become fragrant and toasted (about 5 minutes) be careful not to burn them. Once toasted remove from heat and place in a small bowl.
Next place your onion and garlic with 1/4 cup water in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and sauté until fragrant. Then add in the rest of your vegetables and another 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth and cook for 10 minutes or until all the water has evaporated.
While the vegetables are sautéing we will prepare the sauce. Take all of the sauce ingredients and whisk them together. Pour this over the pasta and stir to combine it thoroughly.
Once your vegetables are done, add them to the pasta, stir them in, add your toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Squeeze the other half lemon on top and enjoy!
Note – You want to add the dressing immediately before you serve the dish. The orzo pasta will absorb liquid pretty quickly so if you plan to keep this in the fridge and eat it during the course of a week, I would suggest keeping the dressing in another container and using a tbsp at a time on each individual serving as you eat it. If you don’t do this you will notice the dressing “soak in” it is still flavorful just not as creamy.