If you are searching for a refreshing and easy dish to take to a summertime party, look no further. Lunch, dinner, side dish - this one works. It's filling, healthy, and doesn't include any oil or significant source of fat. This oil-free pesto pasta salad includes greens, chickpeas, and even apple to create a balanced and healthful meal or side. It's easy to adjust to whatever you have on hand, too. No arugula? Use kale. No chickpeas? Toss in some white beans or English peas.
This salad is filling, and can certainly work as a meal in addition to a healthful side. Take it to a potluck to show your meat eating friends that plant-based or vegan meals do not have to be boring!
Pesto pasta salad with chickpeas, apple, and arugula
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Any kind of pasta will work fine, from traditional to bean or pea-based pasta (look for one without many ingredients - many are simply bean or pea flour and water, and of course oil free and vegan). In the pictures, I am using a low-processed chickpea based multicolor pasta that only contains 2 ingredients and takes about 4 minutes to cook.
- Drain pasta and rinse well.
- Add the chopped apple, chickpeas, and lime juice to a large bowl and toss together well.
- Add the rinsed pasta and pesto (find recipe at link above), and toss to combine.
- Gently fold in the greens.
- Transfer to serving bowls, and season to taste. I am using black pepper in the photos.
What to garnish this one with
As you can see above, I used some radish (I chopped up some more and threw it on top after taking the photo). Because of the pesto, basil is another great one to throw on top of this. Like a bit of spice or heat? Red chili flakes or even a touch of hot sauce goes really nice on this pasta salad. A drizzle of lime juice goes well on top, too.
About the pasta
We try to use pastas that are the least processed. We look for ones that are only a couple ingredients, such as chickpea flour and water. That's what this pasta is, and we found it in our tiny town way out on Vancouver Island. So search around in the natural section of your supermarket or head to a health food store and see what they have. There are lots of healthier alternatives offered these days. I tend to lean towards chickpea pastas as the texture is a bit better than some of the bean ones I've tried.
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