Protein-Packed Veggie Pasta Salad

Long summer days are ahead and you need a few recipes to keep on hand for social gatherings, starting with this protein-packed veggie pasta salad. This recipe is nothing like your deli pasta salad. Made with a variety of seasonal summer vegetables and tossed in a creamy balsamic vinaigrette, this pasta salad is going to be your new go-to.

Whenever I’m in the kitchen, I like to play a game of “swap this for that” to come up with a more nutritious alternative to classic recipes. With summer holidays just around the corner, the deli pasta salad needed a healthy makeover.

Here are some of the simple swaps made in this recipe:

  • Mayo-based dressing swapped for a creamy balsamic dressing
  • Classic pasta swapped for protein-rich lentil or chickpea pasta
  • And we’re sneaking in additional protein and healthy fats with a sprinkle of hemp seeds, as well as a variety of phytonutrients with an assortment of fresh vegetables

This protein-packed veggie pasta salad is delicious when assembled, but even better the next day!

Protein-Packed Veggie Pasta Salad

Serves 6

  • 1 box lentil or chickpea pasta
  • 1½ cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1½ cups broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1½ cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1½ cups zucchini, sliced
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ⅓ cup olives

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Make the pasta according to the package. Drain and set aside.

To make the dressing, add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Add the pasta, veggies, hemp seeds and olives to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing and toss to coat. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


Carly Paige, health coach and cooking instructor, believes that healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Her mission is to show you simple swaps in and out of the kitchen to elevate your everyday that will transform your health. Carly is the author of Simply Swapped Everyday, a healthy guide and cookbook with over 75 plant-powered recipes and founder of FitLiving Eats – a place where she shares nutritious recipes and how-to guides.

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