This vegan and gluten-free vegetable-based spin on the classic Mediterranean pasta salad is a total crowd-pleaser. It is full of robust flavor and so satisfying. You can bulk it up with chickpeas, quinoa and/or avocado for a complete meal. The dressing makes more than you will need so you can adjust the amount to your liking. You can make this dish ahead of time for easy entertaining.
- 1 large zucchini, spiralized on thinnest noodle blade (I use blade D on my Inspiralizer)
- 1 large cucumber, spiralized on thinnest noodle blade (I use blade D on my Inspiralizer)
- 2 bell peppers (you can choose different colors, I did 1 red and 1 orange), spiralized on thinnest noodle blade (I use blade D on my Inspiralizer)*
- 1 small red onion, peeled and spiralized on thinnest noodle blade (I use blade D on my Inspiralizer)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (I used a combination of red and yellow)
- 1 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
- 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (optional) – How to Make Perfectly Cooked Quinoa
- ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tahini (make sure it is runny and not hardened)**
- 2 teaspoons agave (or maple syrup)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Place zucchini, cucumber, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, parsley and olives in a large mixing bowl. If you are using quinoa and/or chickpeas mix them in as well.
- To make the dressing, add olive oil, vinegar, tahini, agave, garlic, salt and pepper to a mini food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour about half the dressing over the salad. Toss, taste and add more dressing if desired. Serve chilled.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
*To spiralize a bell pepper, cut off the end with the stem and remove the seeds/core. Then place the open end against the blade of the spiralizer and the bottom of the bell pepper in the prongs of your spiralizer. Spiralize as you normally would. If you do not have a spiralizer you can also thinly slice the bell pepper (or any of the vegetables in this recipe).
**If you have a sesame allergy you can omit the tahini. I have done this before and it was still delicious. The tahini just adds a subtle nutty flavor and slightly thicker, creamier consistency to the dressing.
Please note some of the photos in this post show the dish with quinoa and chickpeas and some show it with just the vegetables. Either way is great it just depends on if you plan to serve this as a vegetable side dish versus a complete meal. If you do add the quinoa and chickpeas you might want to add a bit more dressing.
- Category: Side Dish or Lunch Entree
- Cuisine: Mediterranean