Hoagie-inspired pasta salad with chickpeas
This pasta salad was inspired by our favorite Italian hoagie fix-ins – pepperoncini, salami, cheese, tomato, and fresh herbs. To add an extra oomph of texture and nutrition, tender chickpeas provide a perfect contrast to the chewy pasta and marinate in the zesty, briny dressing as you prepare everything else. Be prepared to win "favorite dish" at your next summer potluck!
- 10 oz orecchiette pasta
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (about ⅓ lb dried), strained and cooled
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup chopped Castelvetrano olives, pits removed (don’t buy pitted)
- ½ cup chopped pepperoncini + a little of their juice
- 2 oz Genoa salami, cut into thin slices and then strips
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella pearls, strained and halved
- 2 oz provolone or fontina cheese, shaved or cut into small cubes
- Handful basil leaves, torn
- Handful fresh oregano leaves
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano, plus more to taste
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ¾ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
Make the dressing: Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and allow to sit so flavors can blend. Add a dash of pepperoncini juice. Add more vinegar, dried oregano, pepperoncini juice, or salt as needed – the dressing should be zesty, salty, and briny.
Marinate the beans: Add chickpeas to a large bowl and top with dressing. Stir to coat and allow to sit while you cook the pasta and prepare the ingredients.
Cook the pasta: Cook pasta until al dente. Strain and run cold water over it to cool. Place in the bowl with the chickpeas and toss to combine.
Assemble: Add remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine (reserving herbs for serving). Add more olive oil or any of the dressing ingredients as desired. Enjoy at room temperature or cold, stirring in fresh herbs just before serving.