Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kalamata Olive and Sweet Pepper Macaroni Salad (gluten free & vegan)

Confession: I LOOOOOVE macaroni salad.  I love it goopy or dry, with hard boiled eggs, chicken, hot peppers, bacon, or veggiesand whatever else you want to throw in there, I’ll eat it.  I find macaroni salad just delightful.  And it’s a must for me to eat macaroni salad along side baked beans (and chicken of course).  The beans must be hot, the macaroni salad nice and cool, chop that chicken up and mix everything together so you get a flavor blast of every bite.  Mmmmmm.  So awesome together. It’s the whole summer food vibe that brings back wonderful memories of camping and backyard barbecues.  But there is just something magical about that macaroni/baked bean/and chicken combo that screams summer.  Rock your macaroni salad however you like – it’s a versatile dish.  The macaroni recipe I am sharing today is a crowd pleaser (and bonusit’s vegan and gluten free).  I made it last weekend for a family gathering and it was a hit. Summer arrives early for us here in Northern California and I am already deep in a macaroni salad state of mind.  I hope you get a chance to enjoy this recipeor perhaps it will inspire you to make your own version of this classic summer dish.  Salud. 
Ingredients:
-3 1/2 cups dried gluten free Tinkyada elbow pasta* 
-1 cup small chop sweet orange or yellow pepper
-1/2 cup small chop dill pickles 
-1/3 cup chopped green onion
-1/3 cup chopped celery
-1/3 cup chopped kalamata & green olive mix, or just kalamatas 
-1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (or more, just be careful with the spice factor if serving to chidlren)
-1/2 teaspoon onion granules 
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste – remember the olives are salty)
-3 tablespoons oil 
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar OR coocnut vinegar 
-1 to 2 teaspoons dried parsley
-optional: juice from pickle jar to taste

How To:
1.  Boil and rinse the pasta.  
2.  Add in all the ingredients listed above to prepared pasta.  Mix well.  
3.  It is my STRONG recommendation that you make this at least 12 hours ahead of time.  Store in a covered glass container in the fridge.  Macaroni just gets better as it sits with all the flavors.  It’s also my suggestion to remove the macaroni salad at least 30 minutes before serving and add in some additional liquid if necessary (such as, more mayo, pickle juice, vinegar, oil, etc).  I like to add in some additional oil and mayo
Serves 6 – 8 (if used a a side dish). 

Notes:
*Tinkyada is my favorite pasta brand.  To make, bring nearly a gallon of water to a rapid boil.  Add in some oil and a touch of salt.  Then add in the dried pasta and stir, continuously until the water starts to again rapidly boil.  Now you can leave it alone until the pasta is soft. I find that stirring continuously in the very beginning helps the pasta from sticking together.  Test pasta 15 minutes later for doneness. Now this is an important stepbrown rice pasta must be rinsed. So I rinse with cool water until the pasta is cool and clean of excess starch.    
Here are the kiddos enjoying their macaroni salad with a turkey and avocado sandwich with a side of crisp lettuce and fresh blueberries. 
Yum! 
I made Megan’s Paleo breaded chicken recipe last week and it was amazing!  The perfect accompaniment for baked beans and my macaroni salad (and yes, after I took this picture I dumped that bowl of baked beans all over the plate).  I’m a dedicated food mixer.  
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Labels: gluten free, sides, summer cuisine, vegan, vegetarian.

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