Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

 

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I love a good pasta salad! On the first day of fall, with cooler temps ushering in the season, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a new one.

This Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad makes a great meal or side dish. The recipe fills a large bowl so you can save the leftovers for the next day.

This vegan dish is rich in flavor, with lots of veggies to create a variety of tastes and textures and pops of color. And, it comes together quickly.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad title meme

What’s In This Pasta Dish?

I adapted this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish and what I love about it is how adaptable it is.

Because I’m gluten free, the first change I made was to switch to gluten free pasta. I used brown rice rotini. If you are not gluten sensitive, use regular pasta. Not sure if gluten is affecting you? Check out the symptoms of gluten intolerance HERE.

In addition to the pasta, the dish includes crunchy green bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. And to give it that Mediterranean flavor, toss in marinated artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I also added shredded plant based mozzarella cheese, for creaminess.

And finally, Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad has an easy homemade dressing to finish it off.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad plated

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad full of veggies and flavor
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minces
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper optional
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • 16 ounces gluten free rotini may use regular rotini
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoncini may use sliced banana peppers
  • 1 cup shredded plant based mozzarella cheese optional
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Instructions
 

Dressing

  • In small mason jar, combine all dressing ingredients. Cap, shake well and store in refrigerator while prepping pasta salad. Dressing may be made the night before and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • In a large pot, bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Add rotini, stir and bring back to boiling. Lower heat and cook until tender.
  • While pasta cooks, dice green pepper and red onion, halve cherry tomatoes and chop fresh basil. Set ingredients aside in a small bowl.
  • Drain marinated artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Set aside in another small bowl.
  • When pasta is tender, drain but do not rinse.
  • In a large bowl, add the plant based shredded mozzarella cheese, if using. Dump warm pasta on top of cheese. Add diced veggies and artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Combine all ingredients, gently. Pour dressing over pasta salad. Stir to coat pasta. Serve warm. Or chill and serve cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 6 - 8 servings.
Keyword Gluten Free, Mediterranean Pasta Salad, Pasta Salad

 

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ingredients
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ingredients

Helpful Tips

Tips for making this pasta salad.

Make dressing ahead of time, up to 24 hours prior, if desired. Add other seasonings if you want. I highly recommend Nina’s Olivar Almeria Gold Olive Oil, a superior quality oil from Spain. Link to order from Amazon at end of post. This full flavor olive oil is my absolute favorite!

There are a variety of gluten free pastas available, made from brown rice or chickpeas or vegetables.

You may use any color of fresh pepper. I chose a green bell pepper however red or yellow peppers work well too. And try a yellow onion or chopped green onions instead of the red onion, if desired. If fresh basil seems to strong for you, substitute fresh Italian parsley…or add both!

Swap kalamata olives for the black olives, banana peppers for the pepperoncini and plain artichoke hearts for marinated. Omit the red pepper, dried or flakes, if you don’t want any heat. I found 1/4 teaspoon just right, however I like a little spiciness.

And finally, omit the shredded plant based cheese, if desired. I felt it added creaminess to the pasta salad but it’s not really necessary.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

The Taste Test

I served up the pasta salad warm, immediately after gently combining all ingredients.

This Mediterranean salad was SO good, full of flavor in every delicious bite. I loved the combination of fresh, crunchy veggies with the softer artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I won’t change a thing, the next time I make it. And I will definitely make this pasta salad again.

The best part…I have leftovers in the fridge, for tomorrow’s lunch. I’ll see how the salad is cold. I expect it to taste just as good and maybe even better, with all the flavors mingling overnight.

Do you enjoy pasta salads? Do you prefer to eat them warm or cold?

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad plated
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ready to eat

 


 

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Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

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October 14 is National Dessert Day. This unique holiday celebrates indulging in the sweets. For many people, dessert is the best part of the meal. Over the years, sweet after dinner treats transformed from simple candied fruits and nuts to more elaborate concoctions. Today anything from store bought cookies to made from scratch pastries to a fancy mousse tower qualifies as dessert.

To participate in this special day, celebrants are encouraged to enjoy a sweet treat.

I decided to seize the opportunity to make a vegan, gluten free treat that didn’t require a lot of prep time.

I found this delightfully simple dessert on Pinterest. Check out the original recipe HERE. With a couple of slight alterations, I made these easy no bake peanut butter chocolate bars in minutes.

Check out my contribution to National Dessert Day!

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars title meme

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

This quick and easy recipe is perfect for an occasional snack. Using just six ingredients, these bars are vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. And the ingredients are common, in my kitchen. I typically have them on hand.

The peanut butter base combines pure maple syrup, gluten free flour, vanilla and creamy peanut butter. I use a sugar free peanut butter, Crazy Richard’s 100% Peanuts. It’s found in the jelly section at Wal-Mart and health conscious grocery stores.

Any gluten free flour will work. I normally use gluten free oat flour. However, I happened to have on hand a one-for-one gluten free flour so I used that. This brand is Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour gluten free. A cup of this four replaces a cup of regular flour.

And pure maple syrup makes an excellent substitute for sugar. Tonight I used the Natural Grocer’s house brand.

The topping is unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut oil and pure maple syrup.

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars mixing
Two bowls and six ingredients for easy no bake peanut butter chocolate bars.
Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free simple dessert.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 bars

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter I used no sugar added
  • 1 cup gluten free flour such as oat
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

Chocolate Topping

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Instructions
 

  • Line a square pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl combine peanut butter, gluten free flour, pure maple syrup and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Press into prepared pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, pure maple syrup and melted coconut oil. Pour topping over peanut butter base, smoothing with a knife.
  • Chill in freezer for 15 minutes to set. Score and cut with a knife. Store left overs in a covered container in the refrigerator. Makes 12 - 16 bars.
Keyword Bars, Chocolate, Gluten Free, No Bake, Peanut Butter, Vegan
Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars ready to go into the freezer.

The Taste Test

These bars took 10 minutes to prep. I popped them into the freezer and then prepared dinner. So easy!

After dinner, while a cup of peppermint tea steeped, I cut bars to sample. This simple recipe yields a delicious dessert, perfect with my cup of hot tea.

The bars have the consistency of fudge and they are just as rich. One bar satisfies completely. I enjoyed celebrating National Dessert Day with a wonderful treat that does not include guilt or unwanted foods.

I don’t indulge in dessert often. When I do, this is exactly what I want, a simple treat without sugar, dairy, gluten and eggs.

I won’t wait until next October and National Dessert Day, to make these easy no bake peanut butter chocolate bars again!

Do you have a favorite dessert?

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars tea time
Easy no bake peanut butter bars perfectly complement a cup of peppermint tea.

Try These Other Vegan Desserts:

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Raw Wild Blueberry Pie

Vegan Gingerbread


 

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Vegan Black Bean & Corn Salsa

I was looking for a healthy salsa to share at my family’s Christmas Day Smorgasbord. I contributed plant based snacks, sides and desserts. My family members brought their favorite sides or main course dishes, however, they got to sample my plant based recipes too.

I had in mind to make my sister’s Cowboy Caviar. But when I saw that the recipe called for bottles of salad dressing, I opted for this easy to make salsa that includes the fresh juice of two limes instead.

The recipe, from SparkPeople, on my first official Try This Tuesday, is not only quick to throw together, and healthy, it is pretty to look at too! And, it is incredibly delicious, as the flavors all blend together.

I omitted the cilantro, because of a family member’s dislike of it. And the salsa was still excellent. In fact, the recipe made a large bowl of salsa and I brought home a very small bowl of left overs. I used only organic, non GMO canned goods. Del Monte brand now has non GMO canned goods, as do other brands found in health conscious grocery stores, like Natural Grocers. I diced the avocado and added it right before serving.

The salsa was accompanied by organic, non GMO tortilla chips, made by Tostitos, and available in the chips aisle at any supermarket. These bite sized scoops are perfect for dipping.

The black bean and corn salsa was so good that I will be making this recipe often. It is a great side dish to take to parties or family gatherings. I can know that I am contributing food wise, and also to the health of everyone present!