With spring here and summer fast approaching, outdoor picnics are a favorite activity this time of year. The all American pasta salad seems to make its regular appearance at such an event because it is often a favorite. For those who are gluten intolerant, one need not worry that they would have to miss out on this dish.

Gluten Free Pastas

More and more manufacturers are aware that there is a calling for gluten free variations on traditional foods like pasta. Several companie have come out with versions of gluten free pasta, some that are quite tasty. Ten years ago there were few, if any options on many ‘traditional’ foods for those afflicted with gluten intolerance. Today, there are versions of tri-color pastas, spaghettis, ziti, and elbows, all made without wheat, barley, oats and rye, the most common culprits of gluten. One of the better brands out there is Tinkyada’s Pasta Joy, made with brown rice flour. The texture is comparable to “regular” pasts and it holds up nicely when being mixed with other ingredients.

Easy Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • One package of gluten free pasta, brand and type are up to taste
  • Two red bell peppers – cut into ½ inch cubes
  • One package porcini mushrooms
  • One leek, finely chopped
  • Five medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices
  • Four cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped small
  • Olive oil to sauté the vegetables and dress the salad
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside in large bowl.
  2. Sautee the carrots and red bell peppers in olive oil, almost to doneness.
  3. Add leeks, garlic, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat until all vegetables are cooked through.
  4. Remove veggies from heat and toss with pasta and ¼ cup olive oil.
  5. Season the salad to taste, with salt and pepper. If a little spice is desired, used red pepper to season the pasta salad.

This salad, though seemingly simple, contains many bold flavors, which is why there is not a fancy dressing. The strong flavors of the sundried tomatoes, the sweetness of the bell peppers and the earthiness of the porcini mushrooms, combined with the garlic and leeks hold their own, therefore olive oil, salt and pepper are sufficient to dress this salad. This salad can be served warm or cold, though warm is better. If you are looking for a bit more of a traditional Italian flavor, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese will do nicely as well.