¼cupextra virgin olive oilplus more for tossing with cooked pasta
2tablespoonswhole grain mustard
8ouncescherry tomatoessliced in half
½cupdiced red onionfrom ½ medium red onion
1largehead romainechopped into 2" pieces (see note #1)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook rotini according to package instructions. Once cooked, toss with olive oil and place in the refrigerator to cool.
Pat chickpeas dry with a paper towel. Evenly layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Use clean hands to evenly coat, then sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt.
Roast chickpeas for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven when golden brown and crispy.
Make the balsamic vinaigrette by whisking together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, Italian seasoning and pepper in a small bowl. Alternatively, add ingredients to a small lidded jar (such as a small Ball jar) and shake until combined.
To assemble the salads: Add two tablespoons vinaigrette to the bottom of a wide-mouthed Ball jar. Divide remaining ingredients evenly between four jars in this order: pasta, cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, mozzarella pearls, romaine lettuce, roasted chickpeas. Alternatively, to keep the chickpeas crispy, store them at room temperature and add just before eating.
Romaine: One head of romaine yields 6 cups cleaned and chopped lettuce, or roughly 14-16 ounce prepackage lettuce.
I use this salad spinner to make cleaning and prepping salad easier.
Customization ideas: Choose whole wheat or protein pasta in place of regular rotini. Try bell peppers in place of (or in addition to) diced red onions. You can use store-bought roasted chickpeas to cut down on time.
To make vegan: Omit mozzarella balls and replace with an equal amount of homemade cashew parmesan or vegan shreds.