Spicy Sesame-Vegetable Pasta Salad
3 tbsp organic olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp Mirin
1 tbsp light soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari sauce)
1 tbsp garlic chili sauce
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
Pinch xanthan gum, optional (see Note)
1 tsp organic olive oil
1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables – such as green beans, snow peas, bean sprouts, carrots, bell pepper, bok choy, spinach, etc.
About 6 oz shaped pasta (GF if desired), e.g. fettuccine, garganelli, gemelli, penne rigate, gnocchetti, etc.
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, or almonds
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, Mirin, soy sauce, garlic chili sauce, and ginger. Whisk together until smooth and oils are emulsified. Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the top and whisk in. Set aside.
Prepare the Vegetables: Separate the vegetables into those that take longer to cook and those that take less. For example, onions, carrots, bell peppers are denser and take more time to soften. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté about 2 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the rest of the vegetables and toss together for another minute or two over the heat or until everything is tender but still a little crispy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pour in half the dressing; toss to evenly coat all the vegetables.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente if using regular wheat pasta. (Cook gluten-free pasta fully, but be careful of overcooking it.) When done, drain in a colander and add to the vegetables. Add the remaining dressing, nuts, and half the cilantro. Toss together until everything is evenly coated.
Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle each with a little of the remaining cilantro. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to several days.
Note: The xanthan gum will help keep your dressing from separating as it stands, letting you set it aside and not have to worry about re-whisking it every few minutes.