Chickpea, Tuna & Caper Orecchiette Pasta Salad

Tuna, Chickpea & Caper Orecchiette Pasta SaladI thought I was done blogging.  I thought I’d finally had enough of the self-imposed stress and enough standing on chairs, photographing my dinner.  I’d thought I was ready put the project on the shelf for good.

The first couple of weeks were fun and it was certainly refreshing to cook without a notepad and a camera at my side.  I drank wine while I made dinner and didn’t worry about low-lighting or measuring cups.  I ate the same thing for days on end because, dang it, I felt like it and it wasn’t like I needed to come up with fresh content for a blog anymore.  

But then it started making me feel kind of sad.  And lonesome.  I missed the game, missed putting a little piece of myself out in the world.  So I’m taking it on again, with more of a relaxed approach.  I’m not going to feel bad if I don’t post every week, if my pictures aren’t perfect, if I don’t blog my way out of my day job.  I’m not going to worry that someone might not think something I post isn’t creative enough (who wants “creative” food all the time anyway?).  I’m going to remember why I started a food blog in the first place: because I love to cook and eat and my home kitchen is one of my happiest places.

And speaking of relaxed approaches to things, relaxed is exactly how I come at summer, especially summer cooking.  The past few weeks, I’ve been taking it pretty easy when it comes to cooking and eating.  I’ve making the most of my garden greens, letting other people cook for me, and making big batches of pasta salad that I can graze off of for days.

Most of my pasta salads are made in the same vein –about half pasta, half “good stuff”, normally dressed with a perky vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise.  This one takes on a kind of Niçoise theme with flakes of tuna, blanched green beans, halved grape tomatoes, and a handful of capers.  Chickpeas add enough substance that this could definitely pass as dinner, not just a side.

Tuna, Chickpea & Caper Pasta Salad

I hope you all are having a great, low-stress summer and carving out plenty of time for dangling toes off docks and backyard barbecue.  I know that’s what I’ll be focused on.  Well, that and figuring out what to do with a tree full of sour cherries–stay tuned!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Chickpea, Tuna & Caper Orecchiette Pasta Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making a good pasta salad isn't rocket science, but there are lots of ways to ruin one. My advice--pasta should only make up about half of the salad, do NOT rinse the pasta with cold water (toss it with the dressing while it's still hot so it absorbs the flavor but but doesn't feel greasy), and make sure to thoroughly drain all of the ingredients so it doesn't end up tasting watery and bland.
Recipe type: Salad, Side, Pasta
Cuisine: Summer, French, Italian, American
Serves: 4-8
  • ¼ # Green Beans
  • ½ #Orecchiette Pasta
  • ½ pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 15 oz. can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 5 oz. can Olive Oil-Packed Tuna, flaked
  • 3 Tbsp. minced Red Onion or Shallot
  • 3 Tbsp. Capers
    For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil and prepare an ice bath. Drop the beans in the boiling water until they turn bright green, 1-1/2 minutes, then remove with a large slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice bath. Allow the beans to cool completely, then remove, towel dry, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, return the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Be sure to stir the pot a few times as orrecchiette like to nestle into each other and stick. Drain the pasta very well and place in a large bowl.
  3. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar and shake until well combined. Pour about half of the vinaigrette on the still warm pasta and toss to coat. Chill the pasta for 30 minutes or so before continuing.
  4. Add the sliced green beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, tuna, onion, and capers to the pasta. Toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with plenty of black pepper. The salad holds up well for a day or 2 and can be freshened up with a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar before serving.


You may also enjoy:



  1. Eliza says

    I’m glad you’re back to blogging. Your recipes are right in line with my own kitchen aesthetic (especially the relaxed, don’t need a measuring cup ones!). I’ll read, make, and appreciate every chicken thigh recipe you post 🙂

  2. pam says

    Yay! You’re back! And you know how I feel about tuna, so I’ll try this one with shrimp! Looks yummy!

  3. Robin O. says

    Welcome back Sarah! I missed your posts so much! You cook and eat how I like to cook and eat so I am a big fan of your blog. I think so many people these days (especially in the blog business) are so busy recording moments and things that they do, and feeling the pressure to create new content to keep up with the “internet Joneses” that what they started out loving to do becomes a drag. They no longer get to live their lives in the moment and I think it shows especially when a food blogger starts to post stuff like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or toast! hahaha! Anyway I do enjoy your posts but am glad you are feeling more relaxed about the process and finding your own balance. Enjoy yourself! Cheers!

  4. says

    hi! glad to see you back. I think you hit the nail on the head – just do what you love. It’s your blog, you call the shots. Summer is horrible for blogging anyway… I haven’t been posting that much either, and lately it’s horrible pictures taken with my phone. I don’t care. Foodgawker isn’t very relevant these days either. I’m secretly happy, because their contrived rules of what makes “good” pictures drives me nuts. Now I can just blog for fun, and if I feel like being extra creative, I can be.

    Have you checked out Gourmet Ads? They give pretty good ad revenue – better than BlogHer (though using 3 ads, not 1). For 500 page views/day, it was about $20 last month. Also, if you want some trashy fun, Google “GOMI”. It’s a forum where people bit*ch about food and lifestyle blogs. Good fun, I don’t (wouldn’t dare) participate in the convo, but I must’ve read it for hours the first time! Take care.

    • says

      Yes, I’ve noticed fewer posts on your blog but lots of beautiful pictures on your instagram feed–looks like you’re having a fun summer!
      And, oh my, I wandered over to GOMI after reading your comment and then quickly wandered away for fear of spending the next 6 hours reading snarky comments. 😉

  5. Sylvia says

    I was missing your posts. I had only found you recently – was catching up and really enjoying your blog history. Please keep them coming when you are “feeling it”! Warmest regard…..

  6. Robin O. says

    Hey Sarah! Made this salad yesterday and finishing the leftovers today! It was really delicious. I threw some arugula in mine so I wouldn’t eat so much pasta (I don’t seem to have an off button when pasta is around). Thanks for sharing another great (super simple) recipe.

    • says

      I added arugula to mine on day 2 to stretch out the leftovers. And I hear you about the lack of off button when it comes to pasta–I’m the same way. 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: