This breezy pasta salad is what happens you have an abundance of zucchini (hi, summer), a limited amount of patience, and a need for loaded-in nutrition that eats well for lunch and dinner.
Chickpeas provide protein and heft, the fresh thinly sliced zucchini is a light element with gently crisp texture, and the sauce is made from blended tofu to really pack in the protein and other good stuff. Lemon juice and zest brighten the whole thing up. Fluffy, mild white orzo makes a particularly nice canvas for these summery flavors, but if you can't give up your whole wheat pasta, it should still make for a pile of seasonal and convenient meals.
Creamy Lemon Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Fresh Zucchini
serves about 6
1 lb dried orzo
15 oz firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1 small clove garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 15-oz can chickpeas
1 medium zucchini
Cook pasta in unsalted boiling water for seven minutes, or until tender but firm.
Meanwhile, combine tofu, oil, lemon juice, basil, salt, and garlic in a food processor. Process until very smooth, about a minute, pausing to scrape the sides as needed. Stir in lemon zest and pepper.
When pasta is done, drain well and transfer to serving bowl. Add tofu puree and mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
While pasta cools, drain chickpeas in a fine sieve. Set aside to let drain thoroughly. Slice zucchini into very thin half-moons. Add both to serving bowl and toss to mix. Taste, and adjust salt to taste.
Fluff the whole thing again before serving slightly warm or at room temperature. Bring chilled leftovers to room temperature before fluffing and serving.