Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pasta salad with a Moroccan twist

Pasta salad sounds very humdrum, but this one is a little bit different. It has a combination of  raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, chickpeas and cheese. Still sounds very mundane till you add the Moroccan twist with the Boyajian Moroccan Blend dipping oil instead of the usual extra virgin olive oil that is used for dressing a pasta salad. This oil blend contains oregano, chilies, fennel, and cumin which gives the pasta a really delicious spicy flavor without adding heat

I also slow cook the canned chickpeas with onions, garlic and toasted cumin powder to give it an extra oomph. And finally I add a sprinkle of some more toasted cumin powder and grated feta cheese to finish the salad.

Pasta salad with a Moroccan twist 

2 cups mini farfalle (I find small shapes work the best for salad)
1 head of Broccoli, florets only
1/2 Red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
One vine ripened, firm tomato, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 scallions, finely sliced, both white and green parts
One 14 oz can of organic garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed under cold water
1/2 medium sized red onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon toasted cumin powder
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Moroccan oil blend
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Feta cheese (use a large cheese grater)

1. Heat a medium saute pan with extra virgin olive oil. Add the chopped onions and the chopped garlic. Cook on a low heat till the onions are just beginning to soften. Add the drained chickpeas, 1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin powder and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook over low heat till the onions are soft and the chickpeas has a light golden color. Set aside to cool.

2. Heat a large pot of salted boiling water. Add the pasta and cook for 7 minutes. For the last 3 minutes, add the broccoli florets to the pasta so that they can be cooked as well. Drain the pasta and broccoli and run under cold water to facilitate cooling.

3. In a large salad bowl, add the bell pepper, tomatoes, chopped scallions, cooked chickpeas, pasta and broccoli. Drizzle in the Moroccan oil and toss well. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder and freshly ground black pepper and give it one more toss. Grate the feta at the last minute over the salad and lightly mix before serving.

Serves 2 to 3.

Note: The Moroccan blend dipping oil is available at


  1. The moroccan oil is new to me.. the salad looks delicious...

  2. It is a new ingredient for me as well. Try it with dukkah and bread. It is delicious as well.