Loaded with tons of garden veggies, this plant-based pasta salad recipe has a smart secret! I use chickpea pasta to make this quick meal even healthier.
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As the growing season charges on, our garden is getting a little out of control. Lately we have had tons of lettuce, cucumbers and other salad fixin’s that were ready to be picked. I talk a lot more about our garden here. Anyways, traditional salads always leave me hungry again in no time, so I needed to come up with a simple option that is quick to make. With two toddler boys running around, I don’t often have a lot of time to cook!
Plant-based pasta salad was invented by accident, but I’m sure glad I threw it together. We were on our way to a family dinner when I realized I didn’t have anything prepared to bring. I zoomed out into our garden and picked what was in need of picking. Then, after a couple of minutes of staring blankly into my cabinets, I had this idea and grabbed the chickpea pasta.
A new spin on salad
As a brand new vegetarian, I was scouring Pinterest day and night looking for meal ideas, but there was one big problem. There are so many pasta recipes for vegetarians, but traditional pasta does not love my gut. I had heard of pasta made with chickpeas, and thought to give it a try.
I had also recently heard about food combining for optimal digestion. There is some controversy about this topic, some say it’s beneficial and others don’t think so. Essentially, adding fresh greens to either a protein or a starch is the premise. You can check out the article I read here. This recipe follows the food combining guidelines, as I wanted to give it a try!
Why do we love this recipe?
As I’ve mentioned here, I am the only vegetarian in our home. This means that I’m generally preparing multiple dinners, which can get a little tricky. I love this plant-based pasta salad recipe because I can make it in under 20 minutes. This recipe is also very easy to travel with. Simply throw it all together in a bowl and you’re out the door!
If I’m not making a travel-friendly version of Plant-Based Pasta Salad, I will cook the pasta and leave it in a separate container. I will then add it to the salad mixture just before eating. This helps to keep the salad greens fresh in the refrigerator until dinner time.
keep lettuce fresh, and entertain kids?!
After harvesting, we immediately wash our lettuce in cold water. Then we spin it dry in our salad spinner. I joked with my husband for years for wanting a salad spinner. Well, I finally bought him one last year and can honestly say that I’ve used it … very often. The salad spinner works incredibly for getting all of the water off of lettuce.
That salad spinner? It’s also a great kitchen tool for kids to use to help in the kitchen. Our 4 year-old loves spinning out the lettuce! Because he’s so involved with the process, our 4 year-old loves to eat plain ‘ol lettuce. He is a bit of a picky eater, but when he helps us with cooking or in the garden he is excited to try a bite of what he’s been working with. Whenever we have salad he will ask us for “a leaf” to eat. The next thing we know, he’s eaten a whole bowl!
After the lettuce is dry, store it in a green produce bag or container with a lid. I like to use glass Pyrex containers. My biggest tip is to put a piece of paper towel in with the lettuce to absorb moisture. Each day when you use some of the lettuce, change out the paper towel if it feels damp.
Garden goodies are such a treat, we try to not let anything go to waste. But, occasionally we can’t consume all of our lettuce in time. When this happens, we like to compost or feed it to our chickens!
Plant-Based Pasta Salad Ingredients
- 1 box of chickpea pasta (we use Banza)
- Greens (salad mix or lettuce)
- Few slices of red onion
- Mozzarella cheese
- Kalamata olives
- Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
How to make Plant-Based Pasta Salad
- Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and cook pasta for 8-9 minutes, until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, chop tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese and onion.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the salad mixture.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain then rinse with cold water.
- Add cold pasta to the salad mixture.
- Drizzle salad dressing over top and mix well.
Any other salad toppings will go great with this recipe. Some of my favorites are avocado and homemade croutons.
Printable Plant-Based Pasta Salad Recipe Card
Pin, print, save or share this recipe card for quick and easy access!
- 1 box of Banza chickpea pasta
- Lettuce / salad mix
- Red Onion
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Kalamata Olives
- Kraft Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook Banza for 8-9 minutes.
- While that's cooking, chop tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese and onion.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
- Once the pasta is done, strain then wash with cold water.
- Add cold pasta to the salad mixture.
- Mix well and drizzle salad dressing over top.
- Serve cold.
This recipe works best when the pasta is al dente. We like to add in avocado, homemade croutons, or whatever other veggies we have on hand.
Pin it for later
Switching traditional pasta out for a plant-based pasta was a sneaky, healthy swap! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Even if there isn’t a vegetarian in your home, this is a great recipe to have on your Pinterest board for the next get together with friends or family.
In the comments below, let me know what your favorite healthy swaps are.
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