Moroccan Inspired Vegan Gluten-free Pasta Salad

I'm back with a recipe! I know, I've been slacking a bit. It's been unintentional - this month is the month of wedding planning insanity and birthdays. We are out of town every weekend this month for wedding related stuff and I should probably start doing some things for my weeding. Oops. I think I have the opposite of bridezilla syndrome - brideprocrasinator syndrome?

As I mentioned, we were super busy this weekend. Saturday we went to pick out the wines for our wedding - tasting tons of wine for free is my favorite part of getting hitched at a vineyard. After wine tasting/drinking we headed back home to go to dinner for my future sis-in-law's 21st birthday! I woke up bright and early Sunday (as in 7:30am) to run errands and construct Brad's birthday table (a family tradition). We headed to a delicious birthday brunch at my parent's house, came home for a bit, and then went to dinner. Suffice it to say, my weekend involved lots of drinks and decadent food (ice cream, sweetbreads, and shortribs - oh my!) so I was craving something healthy, light, and easy to make for dinner last night.

That's where this pasta salad comes in. I actually had no intentions of blogging about it but it was so easy and tasty that I had to share. It's super fast and simple to make - it goes from stove to plate in less than 30 minutes. You probably already have all the ingredients to whip up this healthy, vegan meal. The spices are reminiscent of Moroccan food so it is anything but boring. It's one of those dinners you feel good about eating....and you can also eat a mini ice-cream cake for dessert because it's so healthy. Because it's really all about dessert, right?

Moroccan Inspired Vegan Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

Yields: 2 entree servings or 4 side servings

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 oz. gluten-free pasta (we like quinoa pasta)

1/2 head of kale (or more if you are craving greens or need to use up your CSA veggies)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 large handful of fresh basil, cut into chiffonade (or very thinly sliced)

salt + pepper

cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional

1. Set some water and salt to boil in a large pot.

2. De-stem kale and chop into 1-inch strips. Cook kale in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Remove kale from water (keep the water for the pasta) and drain in colander. Set aside.

3. Cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain in colander and set aside.

4. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine.

5. Serve room temperature or cold.