This Low Calorie Pasta Salad is loaded with vegetables and chickpea pasta. Made light with healthy ingredients this tasty, gluten free and dairy free pasta salad recipe is one you will make time and again. Perfect for summer eating as a side dish or appetizer! Low Calorie + Gluten Free + Vegan
I love a good pasta salad and this Mediterranean flavored pasta salad recipe is super simple to make and easy to throw together along with Low Calorie Tuna Pasta Salad, Low Calorie Macaroni Salad and Healthy Greek Pasta Salad.
It's perfect for summer side salads with dinner, BBQ's or as an appetizer. It's like a Greek salad with pasta added to it.
Best of all - it's made with healthy, nutritious ingredients, is mayo free, light, fresh, low calorie, vegan friendly and gluten and dairy-free too!
What Makes This Pasta Salad Recipe Lighter and Better For You
This lighter pasta salad version is not only tasty and easy to make, but it's made with nutrient dense ingredients. Nutrient dense ingredients are high-quality and naturally low-calorie. Perfect for calorie conscious folks or those who want a healthy pasta salad recipe!
- Low Calorie - Each serving is 198 calories. These are 198 nutrient-dense and filling calories. The number of calories is meaningless - what REALLY matters is what makes up the calories and this pasta salad recipe is balanced well in nutrition for you.
- High Protein - Swapping regular pasta for plant-based chickpea pasta makes this Mediterranean flavored pasta salad higher in protein. Here's why protein is so important in the diet.
- High Fiber - The chickpea pasta plus all the vegetables make this recipe very high in fiber. High fiber diets are associated with better health and weight loss. I talk about the importance of fiber in my free weight loss class.
- Healthy Fat - This recipe is lower in fat as mayo is not used and has healthy fat from olives and olive oil. These two fats are associated with better heart health, lower cholesterol and are the type of fat we want to focus on eating the majority of the time.
- Gluten Free - Chickpea pasta is naturally gluten-free making this recipe gluten friendly.
- Dairy Free - This recipe is dairy-free. There are options for adding cheese if you want to.
- Vegan - Since dairy is not used in the recipe, this pasta salad is vegan friendly.
Ingredients For Healthy Pasta Salad
- Chickpea Pasta
- Orange Bell Pepper
- English Cucumber
- Red Onion
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Black Olives
- Dairy Free Cheese (optional)
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Dried Oregano
- Dried Parsley
How To Make A Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pasta Salad
The easiest pasta salad recipe you'll ever make! I love these simple, throw together recipes for busy summer months. They really make healthy eating possible. The most difficult part is chopping the vegetables and honestly, I choose to see that as stress relief. I think you all could use more of that!
Step one for making the best pasta salad recipe is cooking the chickpea pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook according to the package instruction, drain the water and cool the pasta briefly before adding it to the veggies.
In a large bowl, add the vegetables and pasta. Then in a separate bowl mix together the ingredients for the salad dressing. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and pasta. Stir well and serve!
How To Store Pasta Salad
Store this pasta salad in the refrigerator up to 5 days. I recommend if you add cheese only adding it before you eat as it will turn after a day or two in the salad. I do not recommend storing pasta salad in the freezer as it will make the vegetable soggy.
Substitutions For Low Calorie Pasta Salad
Here are the substitutions that you can make for this recipe. Please remember that when you make substitutions, it does change the nutritional values you see in the recipe card below.
- Chickpea Pasta - I used rotini for this recipe, but any type of chickpea pasta works. You can also substitute with another plant based pasta like lentils, black bean, edamame, etc. I recommend these as they are higher in fiber and protein than whole wheat.
- Orange Bell Pepper - You can omit or swap with another color bell pepper. The orange, yellow and red will give the recipe sweetness so it may have less natural sweetness if you omit.
- English Cucumber - Regular cucumber can substituted along with zucchini or summer squash.
- Olives - You can omit the olives if they don't work for you.
- Grape Tomatoes - Any tomato variety may be substituted. I do not recommend omitted the tomatoes.
- Red Onion - Can be substituted with any onion variety.
- Dairy Free Cheese - The cheese is optional in this recipe and is not calculated in the nutrition facts. You can omit it or if you prefer dairy cheese I recommend feta for this recipe.
What To Serve With Pasta Salad
Here's a few delicious recipes I recommend for serving with your low-calorie pasta salad!
- Mustard Salmon
- Sheet Pan Cod
- Chicken Guacamole Burgers
- Easy Turkey Burgers
- Low Sugar BBQ Chicken Wings
Low Calorie Pasta Salad
- 12 oz chickpea pasta
- 1/3 cup red onion diced
- 1 orange bell pepper diced
- 3 cups English cucumber diced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes sliced
- 1/4 cup black olives pitted and sliced
- dairy-free cheese (optional) or feta 2 tbsp
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta from the water in a colander and cool a few minutes.
- Add the salad ingredients along with the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the vegetables and pasta and stir until well blended.
- I recommend chilling 20-30 minutes before serving, but you can serve this immediately if you prefer. Store the pasta salad in the refrigerator up to 5 days.