This hearty protein pasta salad with kidney beans and lettuce is low calories, healthy and vegan! Paired with a creamy Italian dressing, this recipe only requires a handful of simple ingredients and is ready in 15 minutes. Perfect as a light lunch or side dish.
Unlike traditional ones, this vegan pasta salad is packed full of plant based protein! Thanks to the chickpea pasta, kidney beans and edamame, this recipe comes out to almost 20g of protein per serving.
This healthy salad is also a great dish to be taken to potlucks and picnics, and will be enjoyed by both vegans and omnivores.
💚Why you will love this recipe
- Creamy, flavorful and filling - Hence, making it a great healthy lunch to be taken with you to work or school.
- High protein and low calories - A serving contains around 19g of protein and is less than 300 calories.
- Super quick and easy to make - All you need to do is cook some pasta, chop up veggies and make the dressing. Everything can be done in 15 minutes!
- Actually DELICIOUS - Say goodbye to watery, bland lettuce salad! There is no need to compromise on taste for health, and this pasta salad is the living proof.
🥗What you will need
For the salad
For Italian dressing
📓Notes / substitutions
- Chickpea pasta - Can be substituted with other high protein pasta like lentil or pulse pasta. Regular ones can also be used, but do bear in mind that the protein content will be significantly lower.
- Red kidney beans - Other beans like cooked chickpeas, navy beans or pinto beans can be used.
- Vegetables - Feel free to use any veggies you have on hand. Some that will work well in this protein pasta salad includes bell peppers of any color, diced cucumber, shredded cabbage, frozen peas and corn kernels.
- Italian dressing - Can be substituted with your favorite dressing or even vegan mayo.
🔪How to make
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. In the meantime, make Italian dressing by combining all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
In a large salad bowl, place in all ingredients and pour in dressing. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Give it a taste and add more seasonings, if needed.
Enjoy immediately, or let it chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Whether if you are looking to bump up the protein content, or giving this pasta salad some extra texture and flavors, here are a few add-ins ideas -
- Chop up some seitan and this will increase the protein content of this salad significantly.
- Top it with some vegan feta or vegan parmesan to boost the umami flavors of this dish.
- For some extra crunch, throw in some roasted seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds. I also love adding in some super crunchy roasted lentils.
- Crotons is another great addition to give this salad more texture.
- If you like that sweet and savory combo, toss in some raisins or other chopped dried fruits.
- Cook pasta until Al dente - You want your pasta to be cooked but not mushy! Bite into your pasta a minute or two before the suggested cook time. The pasta should be tender but still have some chew to it.
- Chilling it - If you have some time on hand, let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. This allows time for ingredients to marinade and soak up the delicious sauce.
- Give salad a toss before serving - This helps redistribute the dressing, especially if your salad had been sitting in the fridge for hours or days.
- For a quicker version, you can use store-bought Italian dressing or other dressing of choice.
- This recipe is usually served cold, but you can also serve it warm or hot!
🍢How to serve
This pasta salad works pretty great as a stand-alone dish! But if you are looking to pair it with something else, here are some ideas:
❔Commonly asked questions
Yes, it is recommended to rinse pasta if you are using it in pasta salads. This will keep the pasta loose and prevent them from sticking together. Moreover, rinsing will bring the temperature of cooked pasta down, hence preventing pasta from overcooking and turning mushy.
This kidney beans lettuce pasta salad will last in the fridge for 3-4 days in a sealed container. It is also freezable too, and can be frozen for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge the night before serving.
Although commonly eaten cold, you can definitely warm it up before eating. Heat it up in the microwave in 1 minutes increment until thoroughly warmed, giving it a stir every round. You might need to add a splash of water if the mixture appears to be dry.
A 293 calories serving contains about 19g of protein.
🍽More salad recipes
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Low Calories Protein Pasta Salad with Kidney Beans and Lettuce
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. In the meantime, make Italian dressing by combining all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- In a large salad bowl, place in all ingredients and pour in dressing. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Give it a taste and add more seasonings, if needed.
- Enjoy immediately, or let it chill in the fridge until ready to serve.