Cheesy Chickpea and Pesto Pasta Salad

I gotta say, I think there are a good number of reasons why you deserve a high five today.

For instance, I know you thought about taking a selfie in the car 'cause your hair is totally cooperating today and must be eternally documented in your phone.  But then you totally realized that you are driving and it can wait.  High five.

I know that when you got dressed this morning you were tempted to hate on your thighs, but you instead chose to dress up and werk.  Well done!  High five.  And if you're a boy reading this, you may have no idea what I'm talking about, but I know you probably complimented someone you care about on their appearance today.  You get a high five, too.

I know you had a question today.  You thought you might sound dumb, but you asked anyway.  About four other people in the room were grateful.  Five spot.

I know you know that life isn't always fair.  I know you accept this by trying to live fully and without letting jealousy or resentment live in your heart.  Who is perfect at this?  Not me.  Not you.  But we try, so highest of fives.

Speaking of life being unfair, I know you've been affected in some way by the devastation and heartache you've observed in Oklahoma.  You may feel helpless, unsure of how to make a difference, unclear of what such an event even means to you.  So you donate whatever makes sense to you to the American Red Cross.  You never take for granted that things and life can be gone in an instant, and you show it.  Ten spot up top on this one.

And I know you're going to barbecue-town this weekend.  We all are!  It's the unofficial start of summer and you've got planzz.  High five to you because if you're not hosting you're contributing.  Going empty-handed to a food-related gathering is like showing up for NYE in Times Square without a coat on.  You know this.  Throwing together a quick side dish or bite-sized dessert is so your thing anyway. 

But if you need a little help in the creativity department, here's a recipe for an easy and cool pasta salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, feta cheese, and pesto.  It's a crowd-pleaser, and it makes you a team-player.  High fives all around!

Cheesy Chickpea and Pesto
Pasta Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 8-10

1 lb whole wheat pasta, any small shape (I used rotini)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, sliced very thin
15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 c reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbs prepared pesto (I used Trader Joe's)
1/4 c fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until just cooked.  Drain well, reserving 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, red onion, chickpeas, and feta cheese in a large bowl.

Add the cooked pasta and pesto, and toss to combine.  Add as much of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to form a thick sauce that coats the entire mixture.  Add salt/pepper to taste, and top with chopped parsley.  This salad only gets better the longer it sits, so it's perfect to make ahead for your next barbecue!

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