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This high protein pasta salad is a game-changer. It’s fresh, comes together quickly, and packs a protein punch thanks to the chickpea pasta. In just under 30 minutes, you’ve got a dish that is not only refreshing, but delicious.
This easy pasta salad strikes a perfect balance in its macro content, standing out from typical pasta salads that often lean heavy on refined carbs or saturated fats.
This version uses chickpea pasta, which brings more plant-based protein and fiber to the table, pairs it with fresh veggies for a boost of micronutrients, and dresses it all up with a wholesome Italian dressing that will give you some good fats.
The beauty of this pasta salad? It’s not just good for meal prep during those busy weekdays (I swear it actually tastes better the next day), but it’s also the perfect side dish to bring to a BBQ or get-together.
If you’re craving something light and easy for the summer, give this recipe a go. Trust me, it’s a keeper!
Love fun salad recipes? Try this grinder salad next.
What You’ll Love About This Recipe
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this High Protein Pasta Salad:
Chickpea Pasta: I used Banza Chickpea Rotini pasta for this recipe but any chickpea pasta will work. Lentil pasta, quinoa pasta, or edamame pasta can serve as alternatives with a similar protein content.
Mozzarella Pearls: I love the mini mozzarella pearls in this recipe but any cheese would work. Cubed feta cheese diced halloumi cheese are also good choices and hold up well in salads.
Bell Peppers, Carrots, & Broccoli: Feel free to use any veggies you like. Snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber are also yummy in pasta salad.
How to make Protein Pasta Salad: Step by Step
Here are quick visual instructions. Be sure to check out the full instructions with exact ingredients in the printable recipe card below.
Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chickpea pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente, typically around 7-9 minutes.
Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Set this aside for the flavors to meld together.
Step 3: Transfer the drained and cooled pasta to a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables and 3 oz. of mozzarella pearls.
Step 4: Pour the dressing over the cooked pasta and vegetables. Toss well to ensure that everything is evenly coated.
Step 5: Cover and chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Cook the pasta just until it’s al dente. Since it will absorb some of the dressing, this prevents it from becoming too soft and mushy in the salad.
After draining the pasta, always rinse it under cold water. This not only stops the cooking process but also helps to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
For the best flavor, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. This allows the ingredients to marinate and the flavors to fully develop.
For an extra protein punch, consider adding grilled chicken, chickpeas, or even some cannellini beans.
Meal Prep and Storage
Prep in Advance: Whip up a large batch of this protein pasta salad to eat throughout the week for lunch. Once you’ve allowed it to cool, transfer it into an airtight container and store.
Storage: Keep in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. If your pasta salad seems a little dry after storage, you can revive it by adding a splash of olive oil or lemon juice before serving.
Protein Boost: Incorporate grilled or rotisserie chicken pieces to your pasta salad for a hearty protein punch, which complements the fresh vegetables and dressing, turning the dish into a satisfying meal on its own.
Mediterranean Flair: Swap mozzarella pearls with crumbled feta cheese, add kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber.
Southwest Twist: Add black beans,corn kernels, red onion, and diced avocado.
Tropical Getaway: Add some diced mango or pineapple. Black beans or grilled shrimp can enhance the protein content. Add some lime juice, honey, and chili powder to the dressing.
Caprese Pasta Salad: Add some ripe cherry tomatoes and freshly torn basil leaves. Drizzle with a balsamic glaze or reduction.
What To Serve With Pasta Salad
There’s so much you can pair with pasta salad! It’s such a versatile dish. Here are some great ideas for what to serve alongside:
What makes this pasta salad healthy?
This healthy pasta salad recipe is a winner if you are a looking for a healthy option. For starters, it uses chickpea pasta, which is a game-changer.
Unlike your regular pasta that’s mostly carbs, chickpea pasta packs in both protein and fiber, making the salad filling and nutritious.
And then there’s the veggies — bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli. These aren’t just for color; they bring in a bunch of vitamins and minerals and add a good dose of fiber to the mix.
The best part? Beyond being hearty and wholesome, the salad has a balanced mix of macronutrients.
You’ve got your carbs from the pasta, protein from the chickpea pasta and mozzarella, and some good fats from the olive oil…making it a perfecly well-balanced meal.
Frequently Asked Question’s
Absolutely! f you’re looking to boost the protein content, consider adding grilled chicken, flaked salmon, sautéed shrimp, or even some beans to the mix, ensuring to adjust dressing as needed for flavor.
This pasta salad contains 10 grams of protein per serving.
Yes, this simple pasta salad recipe is gluten-free, as chickpea pasta is naturally without gluten.
Of course! You can easily substitute regular pasta for the chickpea pasta in the recipe. Just keep in mind that using traditional pasta will alter the protein and fiber content, making the dish less protein-rich compared to using chickpea pasta.
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High Protein Pasta Salad
- 8 oz chickpea pasta
- 3 oz mozzarela pearls
- 1 cup bell peppers chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots chopped
- 1/2 cup broccoli chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the 8 oz. of Banza Chickpea Rotini pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente, typically around 7-9 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Set this aside for the flavors to meld together.
- Transfer the drained and cooled pasta to a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables and 3 oz. of mozzarella pearls.
- Pour the dressing over the cooked pasta and vegetables. Toss well to ensure that everything is evenly coated.
- Cover and chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
The nutritional details for recipes are estimated using MyFitnessPal and can vary with different products, measurement accuracy, and source reliability. We aim to provide accurate information but cannot guarantee the precise accuracy of the nutritional data