Veggie-Packed Pasta SaladMar 15, 2019
Growing up, my sister and I spent much of our summers at the pool, and to say we basically lived there isn’t an exaggeration. We were dropped off in the morning for swim practice and spent the rest of the day jumping off the diving board and working on our remarkable one-piece tans. And a day as a pool rat wasn’t complete without lunch (and often dinner) at the snack bar.
This was truly a kid’s paradise with mozzarella sticks, pizza and ice cream galore. In addition to these classics, our club also served a killer pasta salad. And to this day, whenever I see this tasty side dish, I’m immediately taken back to these blissful summer days.
This incredible cold pasta salad included tons of veggies and a tangy, herby vinaigrette. So as the swim team season comes around again later this month, I was inspired to pay homage to these memories with a healthy version of this childhood favorite!
This recipe truly is a one-pot wonder with a filling combo of all of the vegetables, protein and healthy fats you need. As usual, I used Banza chickpea pasta, which is gluten-free and adds a punch of plant-based protein. Plus, it has the texture of the real deal and the perfect chew that pasta salad needs.
If you’re interested in other recipes using Banza, check out my Spring Veggie & Shrimp Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce, Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Dairy-Free) & Chickpea Pasta and Jalapeño Popper Mac & Cheese. All of these are nutritious twists on the pasta dishes we all crave and love!
But as for this recipe, I wasn’t exaggerating with the “veggie-packed” aspect. Cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper and arugula add the perfect crunch and variety, while the artichoke hearts, olives, red onion and garlic pack tons of extra flavor.
And any pasta salad wouldn’t be complete without a tangy dressing to tie it all together. Personally, I prefer a vinaigrette for the freshness and zing it brings to this summery bowl.
I whipped up a simple Lemon Herb Vinaigrette that only requires a few pantry staples, such as red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and dijon mustard. And, of course, I had to include my favorites, fresh basil and parsley.
These herbs are known for their medicinal properties and are full of vitamins for an added kick of nutrients. Specifically, they contain polyphenols, which are compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to fight cancer and disease. And, of course, they add tons of flavor to any dish!
I’ll warn you though, this recipe does make quite a bit. I love leftovers (and pasta always tastes better the next day), so it’s a great dish to meal prep for the week or whip up for a summertime picnic. And I can guarantee you that everyone will be digging in for seconds .
- 1 box Banza chickpea pasta
- 1 pint cherry tomatos, halved
- ½ of a red onion, thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 bell pepper, deseeded and cubed
- 2 handfuls fresh arugula
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley, roughy chopped
- ⅓ cup fresh basil, jullienned
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
To a large bowl, add lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, parsley, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Adjust to taste.
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