A Birthday Picnic with Vegetarian/Vegan Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

I absolutely love picnics….so much simpler with my klutzy eating habits, haha. When it came to planning our friend, Erin’s birthday we picked Malibu and Vine. Malibu and Vine Wine Bar is located at the Malibu Golf Club snuggled in the Santa Monica Mountains. This is probably one of my favorite picnic spots in LA, complete with tables, umbrellas, live music, gorgeous surroundings, and of course a wine bar.

This gluten free pasta salad is unlike any other. When I think of the common pasta salad, I think heavy mayo, a bit of veggies, and topped with cheese. Not healthy whatsoever. But this pasta salad is the reverse….no unhealthy fats, full of colorful veggies and packed with flavor!

Ingredients, feel free to get creative and toss in other leftover veggies:

  • 8-12 oz gluten free pasta; cooked
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp dried basil (or fresh if you have it!)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • Black pepper
  • 3 c chopped spinach
  • 3-4 stalks of green onion
  • ¼ c sunflower seeds
  • ½ c crumbled goat cheese (vegans- leave it out or swap with chopped almond cheese)
  • 6-8 stalks of asparagus; baked or steamed and chopped
  • 1- 1 ½ c chopped artichoke hearts
  • ½ c chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Let's add some color!

Let’s add some color!

Season All!

Season it Up!

Directions, keep it simple and plan ahead:

  1. The night or a few days before cook your pasta to the directions on the package and steam or bake your asparagus. Toss the pasta in 1 tbsp of basil and olive oil, so that pasta is not sticky but slippery. Cool and place in the fridge.

    Pasta

    Pasta

  2. Once all ingredients have been chopped combine pasta, spinach, green onion, goat cheese, asparagus, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes in a large bowl.
  3. In a small dish combine the juice of the lemon(s), minced garlic, basil, and oregano. Pour over the pasta and veggies and mix.
  4. Top with fresh cracked black pepper and drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Mix and let sit 30minutes to an hour at room temperature.
  5. Taste check the salad and add whatever is needed; not moist enough? = olive oil, not enough spice? = lemon or cracked pepper, not enough flavor? = basil and oregano
    Full of color, flavor, and health!

    Full of color, flavor, and health!

    This place is amazing. As you enter you are literally transformed!

    Malibu and Vine!

    From left to right: Ashley, Erin, Cheri, and me

    Time for a taste. As a member of Malibu Wines you get two free tasting every time you go! Great opportunity to try both flights of the day. Great wine and incredible customer service. We went with the sauvignon blanc on this toasty day.

    Toasting time!

    Toasting time!

    The picnic set up here is so easy! No need to worry about chairs, tables or umbrellas. We filled our table with my pasta salad, hummus, gluten free crackers, salami and some delicious cheese. As if the atmosphere couldn’t get any better the live music starts!

    The delicious grub!

    The delicious grub!

    It’s time to dig in! Mmmm.

    Gluten Free Pasta Salad...delicious!

    Gluten Free Pasta Salad…delicious!

    It’s a birthday so of course the afternoon would not be complete without some gluten free cupcakes!

    The Bday Girl!

    Happy Birthday Erin!

     

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