Today’s recipe is all about ZE PASTA. Don’t be afraid of the noodle people — we’re way past those days. In fact, I’m starting to think that pasta is making a big comeback and I’m not mad about it. Tony’s probably even more excited because he always says that I don’t make enough pasta.
But when I do finally whip up some noodles, I can tell you that I ain’t making no basic chicken alfredo for dinner. (Even though chicken alfredo is actually delicious.)
Instead I’m making pasta with allllllll the veggies, heart-healthy avocado and of course, some jazzy lemon basil vinaigrette I dreamt up.
Ingredients in chickpea pasta salad
This mediterranean pasta salad is nutritious, full of plant based protein (hi chickpeas) and one of my favorite recipes to bring to a party because it has SO much flavor. It’s also an amazing way to fuel up pre or post workout and makes the best lunch because the leftovers keep well. So what’s in this magical, less than 30 minute meal?
- Your favorite pasta: I like using whole wheat Orecchiette or bowtie, but feel free to use any kind. Gluten free pasta is perfect in here, too, and I love this chickpea pasta for extra protein.
- Chickpeas: for a boost of plant-based protein in this amazing pasta dish. Grilled chicken would be delicious as well.
- Cherry tomatoes: I love the little bursts of juicy flavor that cherry or grape tomatoes add to every bite. Plus how cute are they?!
- Feta crumbles: feel free to use salty feta or a creamy goat cheese! You can also omit to keep this pasta salad vegan & dairy free.
- Avocado: creamy avocado is the perfect complement to the zesty dressing, feta and red onion.
- Red onion: add a little bite with thinly sliced red onion.
- Kalamata olives: feel free to add even more mediterranean flavor with olives. Just make sure they’re pitted!
- Lemon basil vinaigrette: you’ll need fresh lemon juice, garlic, olive or avocado oil, fresh basil leaves, dried oregano, salt & pepper.
How to make chickpea pasta salad
- First make the dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender. You can also whisk them together in a medium bowl, but you’ll need to make sure that the basil is finely diced. Set aside the dressing until pasta is ready.
- Next cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Al dente is best here. Once pasta is done, rinse with cool water and drain, then add to a large bowl.
- Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, feta, avocado, red onion and optional olives.
- Fold in the lemon basil dressing and gently stir until pasta is well combined. Season with freshly ground black pepper and torn basil leaves.
Customize this pasta salad
- Make it gluten free: simply use a gluten free pasta of choice. It’s going to be FANTASTIC anyway you do it up.
- Make it vegan: use almond milk feta or a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast instead, or just omit the cheese.
- Add extra protein: feel free to add some cooked, diced chicken breast. Try out these chicken marinades and throw some on the grill using my tried & true techniques!
- Switch up the veggies: I think bell pepper and chopped cucumber would also be delicious in this recipe.
How to store this mediterranean pasta salad
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. No need to reheat! Serve it cold and garnish it with some extra basil.
What to serve with this pasta salad
Everyone’s going to be asking you for the recipe! Tony just asked me for another serving so now you know it’s a winner.
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram or leave a comment & rating below letting me know how you liked it. Enjoy — xo!
Avocado Tomato Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
Gorgeous avocado tomato chickpea pasta salad packed with fresh, delicious mediterranean flavors and a bold lemon basil dressing. This easy vegetarian pasta salad recipe takes just 20 minutes to make and is perfect for parties or meal prep!
- For the pasta
- 8 oz whole wheat or gluten free pasta (I like Orecchiette or bowtie)
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1 pound)
- ½ cup feta crumbles
- 1 ripe but slightly firm avocado, pitted and diced
- ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
- Optional: 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- For the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To garnish:
- Torn basil leaves
First make the dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender. You can also whisk them together in a medium bowl, but you'll need to make sure that the basil is finely diced. I prefer the blender method because it minces the garlic for you. Set aside the dressing until pasta is ready.
Next cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Al dente is best here. Once pasta is done, rinse with cool water and drain, then add to a large bowl.
Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, feta, avocado, red onion and optional olives. Fold in dressing and gently stir until pasta is well combined. Season with freshly ground black pepper and torn basil leaves. Serves 6.
Nutrition information is calculated used whole wheat pasta. For a more protein rich pasta, use chickpea pasta or a bean pasta.
To make gluten free: Use a GF pasta such as brown rice pasta or chickpea pasta.
For a full meal: Add 1 pound diced, cooked chicken breast.
To make vegan: Leave off the feta and use almond milk feta or a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast instead, or just leave out cheese completely.