Growing up in Newport Beach, CA, my younger sister and I would always be on a quest for what to ask our mom to buy us for lunch on the way home after a long, hard day at elementary school. When it wasn’t a corn dog from Ralph’s or popcorn chicken from KFC (oh how times have changed…), I can say with confidence that it would have been the Spinach Pasta Salad from the deli at Bristol Farms.
This pasta salad was the pasta salad of dreams, people. It was so good. A direct quote from the bristolfarms.com reads its flavor comes from ” ripe cherry tomatoes, creamy whole milk mozzarella, crisp celery and scallion, and robust Italian dressing.” And let me tell you, that dressing was robust and that whole milk mozzarella was definitely creamy.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely not an advocate for healthy eating 100% of the time. I think that in itself is a pretty unhealthy mindset. But I think we can all agree that the crisp celery and ripe cherry tomatoes are the only “healthy” aspects of that pasta salad.
With this in mind, I was totally inspired by this delicious pasta salad of my youth and wanted to rival it with something equally as creamy, but with an added health factor.
Enter my garlic tahini pasta salad! I’ll promise you two things: 1) This is totally customizable in terms of the types of veggies you want to add, and 2) you’ll want to drink this tahini dressing straight up.
GARLIC TAHINI PASTA SALAD (VEGAN, DAIRY-FREE)
- 1 box pasta of choice I recommend rotini, fusilli, or shells and I used @eatbanza chickpea pasta
- 1 head broccoli
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 yellow pepper
- Celery chopped
For the sauce
- Juice from one whole lemon
- 4 tablespoons Tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic fresh minced or powder will work
- Salt pepper, chili flakes to taste
- Warm water to thin
Boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta as directed. In another bowl, boil water and blanch broccoli and peppers in the water for about 1 minute until slightly soft but still green. Transfer to a bowl of cold water to halt the cooking process. In a separate bowl, mix all ingredients for the sauce and add warm water to thin, as needed. Feel free to season with the salt, pepper, and chili more or less to your liking - it should be thick! Season your drained pasta with a bit of salt and pepper, and mix in the blanched veggies and the raw celery. Spoon in the sauce and stir to combine. You can also top with sundried tomatoes if you like! Refrigerate your pasta and serve chilled. It will keep for about 4-5 days in the fridge if it lasts that long. Enjoy!