Gluten Free Middle Eastern Pasta Salad Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on July 14, 2012

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Gluten Free Middle Eastern Pasta Salad Recipe

I used to eat lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant that offered a sumptuous midday buffet filled with all sorts of tasty gluten free offerings. My favorite part of the meal was the end when I had little bits and pieces of all sorts of flavors on my plate and I would scrape them up into one delightful forkful of flavor.

That last exotic forkful was the inspiration for this pasta salad; lots of ingredients used in Middle Eastern dishes all mingled together into a refreshing salad perfect for a hot summer’s day.

This Gluten Free Middle Eastern Pasta Salad recipe is a great addition to a barbecue, as a side dish or vegan main dish if you leave out the feta; it is light yet filling at the same time.

Unlike many pasta salads that have a mayonnaise base, the dressing is a simple garlicky lemon tahini dressing that you can whip up in the blender in seconds. Crispy cucumber slices, garbanzo beans, Kalamata olives, red onions, grape tomatoes, mint leaves and, if you like, feta cheese, are tossed in with cooked pasta to round it all out (I used gluten free white rice elbows from Pastariso). I also added some roasted pistachios for crunch and texture.

This salad is easy to make, feeds a crowd and is a bit more sophisticated and exotic than your average pasta salad.

BTW if you love the acacia wood salad bowl in my photo below, hop over to my giveaway page and enter to win one of your own!

Gluten Free Middle Eastern Pasta Salad Recipe

Gluten Free Middle Eastern Pasta Salad Recipe


1 pound Pastariso White Rice Pasta Elbows
¾ cup shelled, roasted, salted pistachios
¼ cup tahini
1/3 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 cucumbers
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
½ cup red onion, finely chopped (from ½ a medium onion)
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup mint leaves
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled – optional, leave out for dairy free or vegan


Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain.

Place the pistachios in a dry skillet and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3- 4 minutes. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Place the tahini, water, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a blender and process until smooth.

Peel the cucumber, slice in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a spoon and cut into ¼ inch slices. Place the cucumber slices in a large mixing bowl, add the garbanzo beans, onion, olives, tomatoes, pasta and dressing. Toss to combine. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add the mint leaves, pistachios and feta and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate until serving.


This Gluten Free Middle Eastern Pasta Salad recipe serves 10 -12 people.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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Categories:    Salads & Dressings

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda July 15, 2012 at 8:01 am

That is my kind of salad – I can’t wait to try it!


Carol Kicinski July 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Thanks Brenda, enjoy!


Ina gawne July 15, 2012 at 9:16 am

This salad sounds delicious! Love pasta salads. Tahini is a great ingredient in many dishes too!


kristin July 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

sounds delish! the recipe doesn’t mention the garbanzo beans, though.


Carol Kicinski July 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm

oops – thanks. I fixed it.


Jeni July 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

This looks and sounds amazing – can’t wait to try it. Love that it is mayo free, I worry about mayo based salads for picnics and bbqs. Thanks!!!


Carol Kicinski July 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I feel the same way – thank you and enjoy!


Nancy July 26, 2012 at 6:04 am

wow! Gluten Free Middle Eastern Pasta Salad Recipe this is my favorite pasta salad sounds healthy, I am very lucky to have this awesome site with complete recipe. Amazing! Thanks for sharing this with us. I keep on reading…


Carol Kicinski July 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Thank you so much Nancy!


great vegetarian recipes October 19, 2012 at 3:25 am

This is simply delightful. The potpourri of flavors leave a wonderful taste in your mouth. Great to learn it was so easy to prepare too.


Carol Kicinski October 19, 2012 at 11:59 am

Thank you so much!


Sarah July 11, 2016 at 12:18 pm

This sounds amazing but the recipe doesn’t include the garbanzo beans.


Carol Kicinski August 16, 2016 at 10:30 am

Hi Sarah,
Oops, thanks for noticing that! It should be included now. :)


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