If the words “pasta salad” conjure up an image of overcooked elbow macaroni swimming in a sea of mayo with odd bits of vegetables for you, allow me to offer an alternative. Unlike the typical [and in my humble opinion, quite odd] creamy version, this no-mayo pasta salad gets even better as it sits, making it perfect for socially-distanced picnics – or just a light summer dinner.
What I love about this dish is the combination of different flavors and textures: al dente pasta with puckery sweet-and-sour tomatoes, savory browned onions, briny marinated artichokes, and peppery arugula. It’s simple, it’s summery, and it’s relatively open to interpretation.
Don’t have cherry tomatoes? Roughly chop a couple of vine tomatoes instead. Not a fan of artichokes? Use halved olives, or even capers, in their place. Wanna shower the whole thing with fresh herbs? Why not.
How It Comes Together
The sauce for this summer pasta salad comes together quickly in a skillet, in just about the time it takes to boil a pot of water. First, you brown a sliced onion in plenty of olive oil with garlic and pepper flakes. Then you add the halved cherry tomatoes and cook them for a few minutes, just until they get all shiny and juicy. A can of chickpeas goes in next; they’ll hang out with the tomatoes for a bit to get infused with tomato-y flavor.
Finally, you toss the tomato-chickpea mixture with cooked pasta, marinated artichokes, and fresh arugula. Pro tip: keep your cooked pasta warm before combining it with the other ingredients as it will absorb more of the flavors that way.
I developed this recipe for The Quarantine Collective’s e-cookbook. The Quarantine Collective is an initiative founded by two food stylists from The TODAY Show, whose goal was to bring together food professionals in quarantine (like myself!) to inspire and educate home cooks through Instagram cooking tutorials.
The project evolved into an e-book with over 45 recipes, and all proceeds go to the James Beard Foundation’s “Open For Good” campaign, which supports the recovery and rebuilding of the independent restaurant industry. Head to their website to learn more about the project and contribute to the campaign.
If you enjoy this recipe, check out my Mayo-Less Potato Salad with Radishes and Sugar Snap Peas.Print
This no-mayo summer pasta salad with tomatoes, artichokes, and arugula gets even better as it sits – making it perfect for picnics and light dinners.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin half-moons
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces short pasta, like shells, orecchiette, or gemelli
- 3 packed cups arugula
- 1 cup roughly chopped marinated artichokes
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes soften and start to get juicy, 3 to 5 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spatula, lightly press on the tomatoes to break them up a little. Lastly, stir in the chickpeas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Combine the pasta with the tomato-chickpea mixture, along with the arugula, artichokes, and lots of black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 460
Keywords: vegan, pasta, salad, tomatoes, artichokes