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How to Make a Great Gluten-Free Pasta Salad That Tastes Great ~ Gluten-free pasta is a great invention, but it doesn't work very well in the cold, which is a big problem for summer salads. I have some tips and tricks to help you create the gluten-free pasta salad of your dreams!
There is much to love about excellent gluten-free pasta. If you have to avoid gluten for health reasons, it is a godsend, because who wants to spend life without pasta? And on top of that, gluten-free pasta can be super healthy, colorful, and delicious. They can also be rubbery, soft and smooth. Aaaaaa and tend to harden when refrigerated. Not so good when you want to make a pasta salad, huh?
Fortunately, I have some tips for working with gluten-free pasta that will help you highlight its best qualities and minimize problems.
Choose a short pasta of small size. Avoid long strands or anything too thick. Try a variety of gf pastas until you find one you like, I used Trader Joe's red lentil penne for this recipe.
Cook it in more water than you usually use, and salt it more than you normally do. Gluten-free pasta is richer in starch and needs additional water to dilute that. It can be bland and the salty water largely gives you an opportunity to absorb the flavor while cooking.
Try adding crushed garlic cloves into the cooking water to improve the flavor of the typically soft gf paste. This tip comes through Jen from Cooking Gluten Free.
Make sure to cook it until it's tender. I generally recommend al dente for hot pasta, but for a gluten-free pasta salad, you need to make sure the pasta is well cooked as it will harden as it cools.
Add some of the dressing to the freshly cooked pasta, immediately after drainage. In this way, it will absorb flavors more easily and stay more moist.
Plan many add-ons that provide texture, favor, and interest that gluten-free pasta may lack.
Include some marinated items like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pickles, etc., they are excellent flavor enhancers.
Crumbled, blue, or other strong feta cheese is a good addition.
Taste and add more dressing just before serving. Gluten-free pasta absorbs more than regular pasta, making it dry, so plan additional dressing.
Plan to serve your pasta salad as soon as possible as cooling hardens the gluten-free pasta. If you must refrigerate, return it to room temperature before serving.
Whether your pasta salad is gluten free or not, I love to pack it with color. Those assorted pepper bags are useful for bright, sweet-colored pops. And cherry tomatoes are no longer red, so shop in the aisle for products for the entire spectrum. One of my favorite additions is black olives for a good contrast.
Try any of my others pasta salads With Gluten-Free Pasta ~ I love increasing the add-ons in my pasta salads, so they will all work with gluten-free pasta. Canned tuna adds a lot of flavor to my Pasta Salad With Tunaand the extra meat in me Pasta Salad for Meat Lovers It is also a great flavor enhancer.
How to make a gluten-free pasta salad that really tastes great
- 12 ounces gluten-free pasta
1/4 cup each:
- chopped red onion
- slices of stuffed black and / or green olives
- radishes sliced or cut into small pieces
- toasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup each:
- chopped peppers
- sliced rainbow carrots
- cherry tomatoes cut in half
- Persian cucumber diced
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue feta cheese or other cheese
dressing (shake and try to adjust any of the ingredients)
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of champagne vinegar or your favorite
- 1 teaspoon of mustard
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- squeeze fresh lemon juice
Cook the pasta in plenty of well-salted water until completely tender. Try often towards the end of cooking.
Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water until cool, then drain again to remove excess water. Put in a large bowl and mix with a little dressing to moisten.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine. Add dressing to taste and garnish with crumbled cheese.
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