High Protein Pasta Salad

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Are you tired of the same old boring salads for lunch? Do you want to add some variety to your diet while still getting the necessary protein? Look no further than High Protein Pasta Salad!
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Serving spoon in a bowl of high protein pasta salad.

My favorite season is pasta salad season and this high protein vegetarian pasta salad is a perfect summer staple to help you hit your protein goal. This classic pasta salad is a dish that combines the goodness of chickpea pasta, and fresh vegetables mixed together with a delicious and easy homemade dressing. Pair this with additional protein like rotisserie chicken, bring as a side to summer barbeques or prep for the week to bring with your lunch. 

The chickpea pasta provides a source of carbohydrates and plant-based protein! Load this salad up with even higher protein by including chicken, turkey, beef, tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds. 

Pair this simple recipe with Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and my lightened-up Broccoli Crunch Salad at your next summer BBQ.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Great for meal prep, cookouts or for any gathering. 
  • This salad uses fresh veggies, herbs, and pantry staples. 
  • 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Ingredients and Substitutions:

These are the main ingredients and substitutions. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients list and instructions for this high-protein pasta salad recipe.

Mixed pasta salad in a bowl with a spoon.

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Chickpea Pasta: this recipe is high in protein due to the use of chickpea pasta which is much higher than typical noodles. You can use any other type of noodle but note the protein may lower. 

Vegetables: in this salad, we’re usnig bell peppers, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onions, olives and fresh herbs. You can substitute with whatever vegetables you have on hand. 

Feta Cheese: this recipe uses fat free feta cheese, you can use full fat or mozzarella balls as well. 

Exta-Virgin Olive Oil: the olive oil in the dressing truly makes a pasta salad a pasta salad. It keeps it from drying out and helps all the flavors combine to the ingredients. 

Red Wine Vinegar: you can also use balsamic, start with 2 tbsp. and add more as needed. 

Dijon Mustard: go all out with Grey Poupon or just your standard container of dijon. This adds a ton of flavor to the dressing along with the garlic. 

Variations

  • Use any combination of vegetables you have on hand.
  • Add ham, summer sausage or rotisserie chicken.
  • Double the dressing for extra saucy.
  • Add lemon juice to the dressing.

Dietary Modifications

  • This recipe is gluten-free as written.
  • To make this dairy-free omit the cheese or use a dairy-free cheese.

How to make this easy pasta salad recipe:

Step 1: Cook the noodles

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. When it comes to chickpea pasta I error on the lesser of the time frame given on the box. Overcooked chickpea pasta crumbles easily and can get mushy. 

Step 2: Prepare the dressing

Combine the olive, red wine vinegar, dijon, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together well to combine. Set aside.

Step 3: Make your salad

Cooked noodles, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes and freshly chopped herbs in a large bowl.

Once the noodles are cooked and drained, rinse with cold water and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked pasta, chopped vegetables and herbs to a large bowl (image 1).

Salad mixed and topped with cheese and dressing.

Add the cheese and dressing and mix to combine everything thoroughly (image 2). Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors develop. 

Broccoli, tomatoes, olives, and more in a high protein pasta salad.

Recipe FAQs

Should I serve this cold or at room temperature?

I like to let this sit in the fridge to marinate in all the good flavors before serving. You can serve both cold or at room temperature after letting it sit.

How can I add even more protein to pasta salad?

You bet!! Top this recipe with grilled chicken or one of my most popular recipes, Air Fryer Blackened Chicken. You could also add cubed ham, sausage, black beans, chickpeas, lentils or even hard boiled eggs! 

How do I keep the chickpea pasta from getting mushy?

I always undercook chickpea pasta to avoid it getting mushy.

How do you store leftovers?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If your noodles dry out any the next day add a touch of olive oil.

Serving spoon in a bowl of high protein pasta salad.

High Protein Pasta Salad

Danielle Lima
Are you tired of the same old boring salads for lunch? Do you want to add some variety to your diet while still getting the necessary protein? Look no further than High Protein Pasta Salad!
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 245 kcal

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You can find this recipe and many others on MyFitnessPal and MacrosFirst by searching: Ohsnapmacros – High Protein Pasta Salad

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. Chickpea Rotini pasta Banza
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 110g
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped 135g
  • 1.5 cups brocolli florets, finely chopped 125g
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped 145g
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1.5 oz. fat free feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2.25 oz. can of sliced black olives drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 50g
  • 4 tbsp. red wine vinegar 50g
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. When it comes to chickpea pasta I error on the lesser of the time frame given on the box. Overcooked chickpea pasta crumbles easily and can get mushy. 
  • Combine the olive, red wine vinegar, dijon, garlic, salt and pepper in a container and whisk together well to combine. Set aside.
  • Once the noodles are cooked and drained, rinse with cold water and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, herbs, cheese, and dressing. Mix to combine everything thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors develop. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • All nutrition facts are an estimate. 
  • You can use any type of pasta noodle.
  • If your pasta salad has dried out the next day, add a touch of olive oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 175gCalories: 245kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 11gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 178mgPotassium: 556mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4g
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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The boyfriend and I absolutely love this recipe and have made it multiple times. We’ve started adding shredded chicken to have it for lunches.

  2. Love this recipe! Added grilled chicken for even more protein and a full meal. What is the serving size… 1 cup?

  3. 5 stars
    I ovr cooked my pasta and it did in fact turn to mush. Delicious mush, nonetheless. I used white wine vinegar in place of red and it turned out fine. I added sun dried tomato and would highly recommend!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this today to bring to a get-together and it was great! Super easy to throw together, and delicious! Another winner!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Meal prepped this for lunches this week. Added grilled chicken as suggest and OMG, so dang good!!!!

  6. 5 stars
    So good, super easy to make and even easier to track on MyFitnessPal! Very customizable as well, we added pre-cooked shredded chicken to bump up the protein even more.

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious and super easy to make. I love that it is so flexible and can be subbed with other options!

  8. 5 stars
    Another INCREDIBLE recipe 🧡. I followed the directions , only adding some hard salami. So fresh- so good!

  9. This is a meal prep staple for spring/summer lunches! So yummy and tastes even better as leftovers! As always another hit out of the park!!!

  10. 5 stars
    Simple but flavorful! I made for my lunches this week and plan to top with chicken or salmon. Very easy to put together and very yummy!

  11. 5 stars
    This was super duper easy and full of flavors and textures. Cooked the Banza for 5 minutes and it stayed perfect for 5 whole days and everything still felt fresh and crisp, not soggy. I added garbanzo beans and chopped artichoke hearts to mine and left out the cheese, topped with chicken. It was so good. I couldn’t believe it held up as well as it did as I’ve never had a great experience with Banza products. Will definitely be adding this into rotation for meal prep. But it would be a great dish to bring to a barbecue or potluck.

5 from 16 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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