This Quinoa and Pasta Confetti Salad started strictly as a Quinoa “No Pasta” Confetti Salad with vibrant summer vegetable colors and protein rich quinoa perfect for an outdoor picnic. Then my Taste Tester came along and suggested that I add pasta. I was initially skeptical because he mixes all of his foods, and I do mean ALL. That does beg the question as to why he’s my Taste Tester, but that will have to wait for another day’s analysis.
I like to stick with gluten free pastas and I chose Ancient Harvest Corn, Brown Rice and Quinoa Rotini which complemented the tri-color quinoa that I chose. However, you can easily substitute regular or another gluten free pasta if you choose.
Quinoa And Pasta Confetti Salad
- ½ cup tri-color quinoa uncooked
- 8 ounces gluten free pasta
- ½ cup pepitas raw
- ½ cup small dice carrots
- ¼ cup small dice red onion
- 2 cups sugar snap peas strings removed
- ¼ cup sliced scallions
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 ½ Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard Maille, if possible
- 4 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
- Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water runs clear.* Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Allow to cool.
- Cook the gluten free pasta according to package directions. Allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and toast the pepitas on a sheet pan until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
- While the pepitas are toasting, combine the white wine vinegar, salt, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes and dijon mustard in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.
- Combine the quinoa and pasta, pepitas, carrots, red onions, sugar snap peas, scallions and red pepper in a large bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the other ingredients and fold gently to combine.
- Garnish with toasted pepitas.
For Quinoa and Pasta Confetti Salad you’ll need….
- quinoa(See the brand I chose below.)
- gluten free pasta(See the brand I chose below.)
- pepitas(½ cup)
- carrots(½ cup)
- red onion(¼ cup)
- sugar snap peas(2 cups)
- scallions(¼ cup)
- red pepper (1 whole)
- white wine vinegar
- red pepper flakes
- dijon mustard
- olive oil
Before cooking, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Although some packaged quinoa is pre-rinsed, many are not. The purpose of rinsing the quinoa is to remove its natural coating called saponin which can taste bitter or soapy.
Cook the quinoa and the pasta according to the package directions. Usually you’ll need to fluff the quinoa with a fork five minutes after you stop cooking.
Most gluten free pastas suggest rinsing in cold water after cooking. Be sure to follow this recommendation if suggested because cooked gluten free pastas will often stick together. Additionally follow the time suggested for cooking to avoid the pasta becoming mushy. You can add a little olive oil to help with this after the pasta is drained.
Toast the pepitas on a sheet pan in a 350F oven until golden brown. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Allow them to cool.
Dice the carrots, red onions and red pepper. Slice the scallions and remove the strings from the snap peas. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to remove the strings. If you prefer smaller pieces, you can cut your sugar snap peas in half or in thirds.
Stir the wine vinegar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and mustard in a small bowl. Then, whisk in the olive oil until it is emulsified.
Combine the quinoa, pasta and the veggies in a large serving bowl and pour the dressing over the ingredients. Fold gently to combine.
Once ready to serve, garnish the salad with the toasted pepitas.
Things You Might Like To Know About Quinoa And Pasta Confetti Salad……
Quinoa grows in different colors, including white, red and black. White is the most common variety, takes the shortest amount of time to cook and has the least crunchy texture and the mildest flavor. The red and black varieties take longer to cook and are crunchier. You can find out more about quinoa and its many nutritional benefits here at TheSpruceEats.com. I almost always choose the tri-color quinoa because I prefer the stronger taste and crunchiness.
Gluten Free Pasta
At one time it was very difficult to find gluten free pasta in the grocery store, but these days there are many varieties to choose from and some are delicious. That being said, some are not delicious and if they are not prepared correctly, they can be inedible by my account. You’ll find lots of articles online comparing gluten free pastas which you can access, but if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. You will eventually find one that you love.
Pepitas are a specific kind of pumpkin seed. They don’t have a shell and they come from specific varieties of pumpkins. Pumpkin seeds and pepitas are not necessarily interchangeable. Many pumpkin seeds will need to be shelled to be edible. Substitutes for pepitas might be pine nuts or sunflower seeds.