High Protein Pasta Salad

Serves: 6-8; Total Time: 20-minutes (plus 3 hrs for refrigeration)

Recipe developed by: Shannon Costello, RDN, LD with CFW


  • 8 ounces lentil or chickpea pasta (penne, elbow, or fissuli)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen green peas
  • 2 cups leafy greens (spinach, baby kale, arugula), roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (optional)


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey (optional for added sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water and set aside to cool.
  2. While pasta is cooking, prepare remaining salad ingredients and place in a large mixing bowl (bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, peas, leafy greens, and optional nuts/seeds). Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  4. Add pasta to bowl of salad ingredients and stir to incorporate. Pour half the dressing over all ingredients and stir. Continue to pour additional dressing and mixing until ingredients are well coated.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or transfer salad into an air-tight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to marinate.
  6. Serve as a main dish or small side dish. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

Nutrition Tip:

Pasta made from beans or lentils is a great source of fiber and has at least 10 grams of protein per serving. Try pasta made from chickpeas, red lentils, black beans, or even quinoa for a nutrient-dense protein and carbohydrate source that will keep you satisified.