1 blender or food processor or you can make the dressing by hand
For the pasta salad
1poundspiral shaped pastaor cavatappi, penne, bow tie pasta, or chickpea based pasta
115 ozcan of chickpeas/garbanzo beansrinsed and drained
½cupred onion chopped
1wholecucumber some of the skin removed
1handfulcherry tomatoes cut in halfor one whole tomato diced
4ozfeta (a block or already crumbled)plus more for topping when serving
For the Lemon Basil Dressing
2tbspred wine vinegar
6-7fresh basil leavesor ½ tsp dried basil
1tsppizza seasoning blend (I like McCormick's)or Italian herb seasoning blend
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water before heating.
When the water comes to a boil add the pasta of choice to the water and stir. Cook according to the package directions, but take it out about 1 minute less than the directions say to ensure the pasta is al dente and still has a little bit of a "bite".
Drain the pasta in a colander and add olive oil to the drained pasta and stir so it doesn't stick together while cooling. Cool the pasta before mixing it with the ingredients.
Chopping the ingredients
Rinse and drain the can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans in a colander or strainer and set aside in a bowl.
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, chop the ½ cup red onion. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Peel part or all of the cucumber and remove the seeds if using an English cucumber. Hot house cucumbers tend to have softer skins and more tender seeds so you don't have to remove them.Tear 3-4 basil leaves for adding in the pasta (the remaining will go in the dressing).
Crumble the feta if it's from a block of feta.
For the Dressing
It's best to blend this dressing in a blender, mini blender, or food processor to fully blend the basil and garlic. However you can make it by hand in a bowl with a whisk if you don't have any of these pieces of equipment.
Remove the skin from one clove of garlic
Add the garlic clove, juice of one lemon, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 3-4 basil leaves, 1 tsp pizza seasoning (or Italian herb seasoning), 1 tsp dijon mustard, and ¾ cup olive oil in a blender, mini blender, or food processor and blend until combined.If making the dressing by hand, chop the garlic and basil really finely, and whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl (except for the olive oil). Then slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking constantly until the dressing is combined and emulsified.
Bringing it all together
Add the pasta to a large bowl and add the red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, and pour over the dressing. Stir to combine the dressing into the pasta salad. Top with crumbed feta.Before serving add a bit more crumbled feta and a squeeze of lemon over each plate if you wish.
Making this pasta salad in advance
I recommend making this pasta up to one day in advance and reserve some of the dressing to pour on top right before serving.This recipe will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 days. It can dry out in the fridge after several hours because the pasta and ingredients absorb the dressing, so you can reserve some of the dressing and pour some on top of each plate right before serving to hydrate the pasta salad.