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Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Healthy Pasta Salad
  2. Meal Prepping Tip
  3. Pasta Salad Ingredient Swaps
  4. Storage Tips
  5. More Healthy Pasta Recipes
  6. Healthy Pasta Salad Recipe
  7. Top Healthy Pasta Salad Questions

I have a hard time eating leftovers for lunch every day. Instead, I’m always hunting easy yet tasty lunches that don’t take much prep work. I know that sounds like a unicorn, but it’s not! My healthy pasta salad checks all the boxes (and has a good amount of protein as well). Feel free to keep it a vegan with the vegan feta or toss in your favorite cheese if you can tolerate it.

While I created this healthy pasta salad with lunch in mind, it works great as a shareable side at as a healthy BBQ side dish, potluck or family meal.

large glass bowl of healthy pasta salad with 3 glass containers for left overs and a container of vegan feta.

How to Make Healthy Pasta Salad

I set out to create this healthy pasta salad after Rawkstar Jennifer told me she was looking for quick and healthy recipes that her high schooler could take to school. I love how the different flavors mix in this recipe without meat or dairy.

Cook the pasta

Follow cooking directions on the pasta package, allowing the pasta to remain slightly undercooked. This will help keep the pasta from falling apart in the salad. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta is completely cool, then drain well again.

bowtie pasta in a stainless steel pot then a glass bowl, ready to be mixed together.

Prepare the vinaigrette

While the pasta is cooling, mix all the Basic Vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl until combined.

mixing ingredients for delicious meal including white beans, sun-dried tomatoes and green onions.

Mix in vegetables

Place cooled pasta into a large bowl and add the vegetables and herbs. Gently toss.

pouring homemade dressing over vegan pasta salad, then tossing the salad to incorporate.

Add dressing and mix well

Drizzle Basic Vinaigrette over the pasta salad and gently toss again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

6 glass containers of pasta salad.

Meal Prepping Tip

Transfer the salad to airtight containers and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Follow my Meal Prep Salad tutorial to get the best containers and more in-depth tips.

table full of ingredients for healthy lunch including red bell pepper, arugula, white beans, green onions, pasta, black olives, dressing and vegan feta cheese.

Pasta Salad Ingredient Swaps

Probably my favorite part about this healthy pasta salad lunch is how much you can customize it to your taste preferences! Here are a few swaps I suggest if you want to try them:

  • Swap olive oil with avocado oil.
  • Swap red wine vinegar with the vinegar of your choice.
  • Use your preferred pasta type, or use gluten-free.
  • Cannellini beans can be swapped with another kind of legume (black beans, kidney beans or chickpeas are great swaps).
  • Add the veggies of your choice! Radishes or cucumbers are great additions.
  • Feel free to add nuts or seeds for an extra crunch.

I have a hard time eating the same thing over again, even when it’s as delicious as this vegan pasta salad. So you’ll find mine with a slight variation every time I make it, and that’s fine.

Storage Tips

Toss the salad well in the dressing as this helps it keep well in the fridge. Store in individual serving airtight containers to grab when you need to quickly. If you like your greens extra fresh, then wait to add those until you’re ready to eat, so they don’t wilt.

More Healthy Pasta Recipes

If you don’t use leftovers to fuel your lunch, you need to make or buy them every day. I love batching easy recipes for lunch that we can grab throughout the week. Here are a few more pasta recipes:

  • Vegetable Noodle Soup: Instead of suffering through your next cold, turn to my vegetable noodle soup for the best home remedy recipe to kick that cold to the curb.
  • Vegetarian Noodle Salad– toss together and enjoy throughout the week.

Take the guesswork out of lunch when you double or triple a recipe, then save it for the days ahead. The vegan pasta salad below is filling and doesn’t even need to be heated up to enjoy.

4.69 from 238 votes

Healthy Pasta Salad

Whether you're in need of an easy week of lunches or a delicious potluck recipe to share, this vegan pasta salad is for you!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Entree, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: dairy-free
Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients  

  • ½ cup farfalle pasta
  • ¾ cup arugula pre-washed
  • ¾ cup cannellini beans canned, drained and well rinsed
  • ¼ red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green onion diced
  • 2 tbsp black olives sliced
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, mint and parsley chopped
  • ¼ cup vegan feta optional

Basic Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ garlic clove finely minced
  • tsp sea salt
  • tsp ground black pepper
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Instructions 

  • Follow cooking directions on pasta package for "al dente" (which allows pasta to remain slightly undercooked). This will help keep the pasta from falling apart in the salad. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta is completely cool.
  • While the pasta is cooling, mix all the Basic Vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl until combined.
  • Place cooled pasta into a large bowl and add the vegetables and herbs. Gently toss. Drizzle Basic Vinaigrette over the pasta salad and gently toss again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • If meal prepping, transfer the salad to airtight containers and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes

  • Use the pasta of your choice: bowtie, fusilli, shells, etc.
  • Arugula has a strong, peppery flavor. You can swap with kale or spinach.
  • Cannellini beans can be swapped with the legume of your choice.
  • I love using basil, oregano and chives yet you can any fresh herbs. 

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Sodium: 439mg, Potassium: 301mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 780IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 78mg, Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

Top Healthy Pasta Salad Questions

Is pasta salad bad for you?

It doesn’t have to be! Ditch the store-made pasta salads made with additives and processed ingredients. Home make one instead with loads of fresh greens and a light, oil-based dressing.

How long does pasta salad stay fresh?

This pasta salad should stay fresh in the fridge for up to five days since it is oil-based. Dairy or mayo-based salads will keep fewer days.

What is the best healthy pasta salad?

Choose a pasta salad that is oil-based (using healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil) instead of dairy or mayonnaise-based, has plenty of fresh veggies and leafy greens and a good protein source like beans or tofu. This recipe’s got it all!

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Rating




Comments

  1. 4 stars
    i made this recipe as written except i increased the pasta and vinaigrette and omitted the mint as mine had gone bad. i didn’t like it as well as i thought i would, but it did grow on me as i was eating it.

  2. 5 stars
    I made a large batch of this pasta salad and it got better overnight. We enjoyed it for several meals. I plan to bring it to potlucks because it attractive and filling and delicious!

  3. 3 stars
    This is almost too healthy for me, but it is good. I did swap out and use spinach. The feta makes the salad less “green”feeling.

  4. 5 stars
    I used a gluten-free Farfalle which I made al dente (you must do this or else the pasta gets mushy the next day). I love putting together a pasta salad as simple as this and keep many of the ingredients on hand at all times. I love arugula and have typically used it on pizza. Adding it to a salad brings more opportunities for me to branch out from my normal routine. This salad was delicious. When I tossed the ingredients in the bowl, I almost didn’t add the dressing however I’m glad I did. I love how each of the flavors paired well together. I added a little ground pepper to top it off.

  5. 5 stars
    This is so visually appealing and yummy. I love the dressing and the variety of flavors.

  6. This is SO GOOD! I made enough for multiple lunches and it’s just as good every day. I used kalamata olives cause that’s what was handy and it just adds to the Mediterranean flavor. I also have a hard time finding feta sometimes but herbed feta seems easier to get and then it saves me a step of adding herbs 😉

  7. 4 stars
    Sorry I’m late in posting. We made the dressing and used it on mixed greens since we don’t eat pasta.

  8. I loved this and would definitely make again – used gluten free pasta and was delicious!

  9. 5 stars
    This worked great for meal prep and it turned out with tasty and filling! I replaced the black olives with kalamata and replaced cannellini beans with chickpeas.

  10. 5 stars
    I love pasta salads in general. Great tasting combination of ingredients with this one.

  11. 5 stars
    Okay this is my favorite so far! The vinegrette was definitely not basic when it comes to flavor. I would have never paired this all together and it will definitely be in my rotation! Full of flavor and was fun to make. Only change I made was using shells because that’s the only noodle I had on hand. Thanks for this great recipe!

  12. This salad is SO GOOD! Will definitely make this again. I normally don’t eat to many beans, but the beans in this salad were good and cold. I like it very much.

  13. Really loved this! Such a great combo of ingredients. Refreshing and healthy. Would make a great main dish or side. Either way, I’m making this again.

  14. This pasta salad seemed much lighter than other pasta salads that I have eaten. Will
    be making again.

  15. 5 stars
    I took the Healthy Pasta Salad to a friends house today where my husband and I were eating lunch. I looked like a “salad hero!” Everyone loved the salad and wanted the recipe. There was none to bring home.
    The only change I made was to replace the beans with black beans because I already had a can of black beans open from another salad. This is the best pasta salad ever, plus it is good for you!.