Summer is almost here! And what does that mean???…. giant bowls of pasta salad of course! When have you ever gone to a backyard BBQ and not seen at least one pasta salad? Probs never. And that’s because pasta salads are easy to make and crowd pleasers! And this high protein pasta salad is no exception.
Why you’ll love this high protein pasta salad recipe
- Quick & Easy: this recipe takes 20 minutes to make, and most of that time is waiting for water to boil. You can chop your veggies and other ingredients, and make your dressing while you’re waiting. That makes it the perfect weeknight dinner option, or a great dish to bring to a potluck. Everyone will love it, but you don’t have to commit too much time.
- Balanced: with veggies, protein and carbohydrates, this high protein pasta salad has everything you need for a filling, healthy meal. By using a pasta made with lentils or chickpeas, you’re getting more protein and fibre than from a regular pasta. You’ll be getting protein from the pasta, chickpeas and feta. You’re getting fibre from the veggies likes bell pepper and zucchini. Healthy, energizing carbs are coming from the pasta and baby corn. Also, some healthy fats from the olives and sun-dried tomato oil.
- Meal prep: this recipe makes a lot of servings, so it would be perfect to meal prep and enjoy over the course of a week. Pasta salads are arguably better the next day. I suggest reserving about 1/4 – 1/2 the dressing and adding it to the salad right before you eat it.
What you’ll need to make this recipe
You’ll need the following to make this tasty High Protein Pasta Salad:
- Pasta: you can use any type of pasta, but if you use a lentil, beans or chickpea pasta, you’re getting extra protein and fibre. I also suggest using a short pasta, something like fusilli, penne, rotini, or farfalle.
- Veggies: feel free to mix and match your favourite veggies. I like to include as many different colours as possible, think of the rainbow.
- Protein: protein is coming from the pasta, chickpeas and feta. If you want to use a different protein go right ahead.
- Dressing: the easiest dressing you’ll ever make. Use oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, white balsamic vinegar (but you could likely use lemon juice, or rice wine vinegar) and a bit of sugar to balance out the flavours.
How to make this high protein pasta salad
These are just quick instructions highlighting the key steps. The full recipe and instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Cook your pasta according to the directions. When it’s done, drain well and then toss with a little olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together
- While the water is waiting to boil, and the pasta is cooking, it’s the perfect time to chop all your veggies and prepare the other salad additions.
- Once the salad is cool, add it to a large bowl (make sure it’s large enough to hold all the pasta, and other ingredients and there is room for everything to be tossed in dressing). Then add all your ingredients, and 1/2 your dressing. Toss to combine.
- You can store it in a large airtight container, or a bowl that’s well sealed with plastic wrap.
Additions & Substitutions
- Veggies: other vegetables to add that would pair really well might be red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, snap peas or carrots.
- Herbs: adding fresh basil into the salad or as a garnish would be a nice touch
- Protein: if you don’t like chickpeas, you could add edamame or lentils.
- Cheese: if you’re vegan or dairy-free, you can skip the feta, or use a vegan version.
Can pasta salad be made the day before?
Yes, and it’s arguably better the next day because I find all the flavour meld a little. Add about 1/2 the dressing the day you make the salad, and add the remaining dressing the day you serve or eat it
Is pasta salad healthy?
It absolutely can be healthy! Pasta salads are mainly carbohydrates, so adding some protein and vegetables will help make it more filling and nutrient dense.
Can pasta salad be frozen?
While I’ve never tried this, I’m going to say no. The texture of the pasta and vegetables would not be the same after being frozen, so it’s best to use up leftovers within 2-3 days.
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High Protein Pasta Salad
- 3 cups high protein pasta (like a lentil or chickpea pasta) uncooked
- 1 cup zucchini, diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup baby corn, diced
- 1 cup black olives, halved
- 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes, julienne
- ¾ cup feta, crumbled
- ¼ cup sun dried tomato oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vingegar
- ½ tbsp sugar
- Cook pasta according to directions on the package. When it's done, drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with a little bit (maybe 1/2 tbsp) olive oil to prevent it from sticking. When it's cooled, add to a large bowl.
- Prepare all your other salad ingredients, all to the pasta.
- Add the sun-dried tomato oil, white balsamic vinegar and sugar to a mason jar. Shake to combine
- Add 3/4 of the dressing to the salad. Toss to combine. Add the remain dressing right before eating.
- Leftovers will last 2-3 days in the fridge.
If you try this high protein pasta salad , take a picture and share them with me over on IG @harvesttablenutrition. I love to see all your creations.