During the summer months, I like to stock my recipe box with dishes are easy to make, can be stretched to feed a crowd and are enjoyed both at room temperature or cold from the fridge. Having a good handful of recipes that fit this criteria makes summer eating and entertaining so much easier, which leaves more time for fun in the sun. And, if it can be made ahead of time, even better! My parents used to make this cold pasta dish when we were kids; they got the recipe from a family friend and made it their own. It’s perfectly light and in my opinion, tastes even better after a day in the fridge.
To keep it gluten free, I use my favorite gluten free Bionaturae spaghetti and La Choy soy sauce. If you’re not gluten free, no worries! Just use your favorite brand of spaghetti or linguine and any soy sauce that you prefer. I usually serve it family style from a big bowl, but if you’re having a backyard party or taking it to the beach, place a little bit of the spaghetti in disposable Chinese take-out boxes. They are not only festive, but they make clean-up a cinch.
Gluten Free Cold Asian Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. (16 ounces) gluten free spaghetti
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1-2 handfuls matchstick carrots (I buy them like this in the produce aisle)
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh broccoli florets (not frozen
- you want the fresh kind that can be steamed in the bag)
- Olive oil
- 2 green onions (scallions), chopped, for garnish
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper for seasoning
- 1/4 cup regular olive oil or peanut oil, plus more as needed for tossing (I don't recommend using extra virgin, as it's too fruity and could overpower the dressing)
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- Step 1 In a large skillet, heat 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil. Add the smashed garlic cloves and sauté over low heat until just slightly browned. Remove the garlic and reserve the oil in the pan.
- Step 2 Add the carrots and peppers to the oil, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Step 3 In the meantime, steam the broccoli in the microwave for half the amount of time indicated on the package, about 3-4 minutes. Cut the bag open to release the steam and set aside.
- Step 4 When carrots and peppers begin to soften, add the broccoli florets. Season with salt and crushed red pepper to taste.
- Step 5 Sautee veggies for a few minutes over low-medium heat until tender but not mushy.
- Step 6 Boil water for pasta
- Step 7 salt the water. Cook pasta until al dente.
- Step 8 Reserve about one cup of cooking water. Drain the pasta in a colander over the sink.
- Step 9 While pasta is cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper if desired.
- Step 10 Place the drained pasta into a large bowl. Add in the veggies.
- Step 11 Pour in the dressing and carefully toss. Taste it and add more of the oils and/or soy sauce if necessary. It’s really a matter of taste how much sesame oil you want to add. It’s a strong flavor, so add a little at a time. If the pasta seems dry, add a ladle at a time of the reserved cooking water.
- Step 12 Top the pasta with a good sprinkling of sesame seeds and the chopped green onions. Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours or overnight. Before serving, toss the spaghetti again to loosen the pasta noodles a bit. Add a touch more oil and/or garnish if desired.
- Step 13