Hot, humid weather calls for cool, refreshing salads. As much as we love an entree salad, many of these recipes are heavy on the veggies, but light on the nourishing protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats that keep you feeling full and satisfied. That’s why our Italian Pasta Salad is the perfect substantial summer staple, because it is packed with satiating protein, vitamin-rich veggies, and a fiber-filled, complete protein pasta, making it a nutritious one-dish meal. This recipe combines two of our favorite nutrient-dense ingredients — beans and Chickpea pasta. Beans are rich in dietary fiber, iron and a good source of plant-based protein; a great meat alternative that makes any dish a lot heartier and healthier. We use gluten-free Chickpea pasta because it adds an extra boost of plant-protein and fiber while acting as the perfect vehicle to bring together the salad’s numerous flavors and textures. We especially love the complexity of this salad: crunchy green beans, nutty chickpeas, sweet tomatoes and onions, fresh basil, fluffy pasta, and loads of bright acid and tang from the Dijon vinaigrette. Once refrigerated, the chilled temperature allows all of these flavors and juices to seep further into the pasta, veggies and beans, so all of our wholesome ingredients become marinated with the tastes of Italy. Our Italian Pasta Salad is so much more than macaroni mixed with a mustard dressing; it’s the right mix of cool food that is meant for warm weather meals.
Nutrient Booster: Chickpea Pasta
While many pastas can be healthy, some noodles offer more nutrition than others. We love using Banza chickpea pasta in our favorite recipes because it is made from nutrient-dense chickpeas. Chickpeas themselves are plant-based powerhouses that are teeming with both protein and fiber. And compared to traditional wheat-based pasta, chickpea pasta has up to double the protein, double the fiber, and it is a lower glycemic choice for those looking to manage blood sugar. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, this pasta is a perfect alternative for those who have food intolerances or dietary restrictions. Our Italian Pasta Salad has delicious nutrition in every noodle!
Grilling season and summertime menus almost always include pasta salad. Unfortunately, pasta salad is often the most bypassed bowl on the picnic table — it’s the dish we usually ignore to make room for ooothers that we actually want on our plate. Our Italian Pasta Salad is so delicious, it will change the way you think about this often overlooked noodle. Because pasta salad is starchy by nature, we like to pair it with protein-rich ingredients, such as chicken, fish, meat, or cheese. Our Blended Portobello Hamburgers, Wild Salmon with Mustard Glaze, Tandoori Chicken Thighs, and Grilled Chicken Satay are perfect protein options to top your pasta or serve alongside it for a well-balanced meal. Leafy greens are also appealing with pasta salad when the weather is hot and the food should be light and cold. For a cool menu option, pair this Italian Pasta Salad with our Kale, Fennel and Sorghum Salad or our Chard Salad with Carrots, Beets and Sunflower Seeds. And because our salad is made without temperature-sensitive ingredients, it is the perfect chilled food that also pairs perfectly with hot weather!
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 (12 ounce) package whole grain penne
- 2 cups green beans, snipped and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons basil, to garnish
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 small garlic clove, minced or 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Prepare pasta al dente as directed, adding green beans to the boiling water for the last 2 minutes then rinse under cold water and drain. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pasta mixture and stir well. Set aside.
In a salad bowl, combine the pasta and green bean mixture with cherry tomatoes, cannellini beans and red onion.
In another small mixing bowl, add red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic, oregano and sea salt, and whisk until emulsified. Pour dressing over pasta; toss and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until chilled or overnight.
Sprinkle with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese if desired.
Serving size: 2 cups, Calories: 330 calories, Fat: 10 grams, Saturated fat: 1 grams, Carbohydrates: 55 grams, Sugar: 3 grams, Sodium: 135 milligrams, Fiber: 10 grams, Protein: 13 grams, Cholesterol: 0 milligrams