Greek Pasta Salad

Did you know April 23rd is picnic day? What are your favorite picnic recipes? Add this Greek Pasta Salad to your next picnic spread.
Greek pasta salad - Banza (chickpea) pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, in a white dish
I had many summer jobs during high school and in between college semesters. One of them was at an outdoor catering business. We did a lot of BBQ’s and graduation parties, which served the classic outdoor fair, including burgers, hot dogs, barbeque chicken, and ribs. Plus, the typical sides like, potato salad, pasta, salad, and coleslaw.

Making the sides was one of the tasks I simply dreaded. With catering, every recipe is made in mass quantities to serve a crowd.
Do you have a certain food or ingredient that just skeeves you out? For me it’s mayonnaise. For a large party, I would have to make potato salad in these large buckets and wear these giant gloves to toss the mayonnaise in.
Greek pasta salad - Banza (chickpea) pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, in a white dish
I used Banza pasta for this recipe. I feel like there are never enough plant-based protein options available at barbeques. This is a great way to have a protein-packed option for those who don’t eat meat and want to enjoy this as more of a meal than a side dish.

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chickpea pasta with vegetables in a white bowl

Greek Pasta Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: pasta, side dish

Description

Everyone will love it when you bring this Greek Pasta Salad to your next BBQ!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces box rotini Banza pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and quartered
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. In a large bowl combine, pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and olives.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and oregano. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Drizzle dressing over pasta salad and toss to combine. Gently fold in feta cheese just before serving.

Keywords: pasta salad, side dish, vegetarian

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Check out some more picnic inspired recipes. Click on the link below.

Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of julieharringtonrd.com

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Greek pasta salad - Banza (chickpea) pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, in a white dish

Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Swiss chard walnut pesto and roasted tomatoes is the perfect heart healthy topping to your favorite pasta.

Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenMonday night was always pasta night at my house growing up. (and sometimes Sunday too, if we were going to Grandma’s!). Over the years our traditional pasta dinner has transformed into healthier variations. I like to give myself some credit for these changes (hello, dietitian in the family!), by introducing some healthy twists to pasta night.
Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenRevamp your pasta dish with starting with the pasta itself. Switch it up to add more variety, but also a boost in nutrition. Try whole wheat pasta for more fiber or a plant based pasta like Banza (chickpea pasta) or black bean pasta for an extra boost of fiber & protein.
I used Banza pasta for this recipe because I love the rotini shape. Banza packs in 13 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounce serving. It’s like built in portion control because it’s so filling!
Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchen

Skip the heavy cream sauces and try a pesto as a heart healthy pasta topping. The ingredients in this Swiss chard walnut pesto recipe contains heart healthy benefits including:

  • Swiss chard contains Vitamin E which has shown anti-inflammatory effects and helps protect tissue from oxidation damage. Eating foods with plenty of vitamin E might also reduce the chances of developing coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack or heart failure.
  • While most nuts contain monounsaturated fats, only walnuts are comprised primarily of polyunsaturated fat (13 grams out of 18 grams total fat). Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.
  • Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.

Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenRethink your pasta night by trying this pesto! This recipe does make more pesto needed for the amount of pasta. To save leftovers, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator, or freeze in an ice cube tray for later use.

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Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

  • Author: Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups Swiss chard, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 lemon, juice and zested
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 box pasta (I used Banza)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath and a colander. Blanch the Swiss chard in the boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes. Shock immediately in the ice water. Drain by squeezing the leaves in a ball in a clean kitchen cloth.
  2. In a food processor, add the cooked Swiss chard, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup olive oil. Pulse until the mixture breaks down. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the grape tomatoes and saute about 5 minutes until tomatoes begin to burst. Add the 2 cups of the Swiss chard walnut pesto (there will be some leftover) and heat through. Toss with the cooked pasta.
  5. Top with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

*Makes about 3 cups of pesto. Reserve leftovers in the refrigerator for about a week or freeze into an ice cube tray for later use.

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Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchen

Supermarket RD’s Pick: Banza [Chickpea Pasta]

A pasta made from chickpeas? Transform pasta night into a high protein, high fiber meal with the help of Banza pasta making it this week’s Supermarket RD’s Pick

Supermarket RD's Pick - Dietitian approved items that you can find in the grocery store! #rdchat
Monday night was always pasta night in my house growing up. Over the years what was considered the typical pasta dinner has evolved. It used to be just a plate of pasta with gravy.
Side note: Anyone else call pasta sauce, gravy? I was teaching a cooking class and we were making a gravy (aka pasta sauce) from scratch. Before we started cooking, I was introducing the recipe and explaining the cooking techniques we would be using and everyone had a confused look on their face. At first I thought they weren’t happy with the recipes we were making, but then one of the participants raised their hand and with a puzzled look asked why we would be making a brown gravy on top of pasta? No wonder they looked confused, brown gravy on pasta sounds pretty gross ha.
Supermarket RD's Pick: Banza [Chickpea Pasta] via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchen
Anyway, back to the evolving pasta dinner plate. In my counseling sessions with clients, I discuss a lot about balance – specifically balance of various food groups on your plate. Instead of just having pasta, make pasta part of your meal. Add a form of lean protein, like meatballs, chicken, beans, etc. and half your plate vegetables which could be veggies within the pasta dish or a salad on the side. Now, pasta is part of a complete meal. Practicing what I preach, I too try and make my plate balanced at every meal.
Banza pasta is unique, because since it is made from chickpeas, it has that boost of protein and fiber already in itself. One serving of Banza has double the protein as regular pasta. Protein helps speed recovery after exercise, and will help keep you fuller for longer. Banza has more than four times as much fiber as regular pasta per serving. Eight grams is more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal. With the protein and fiber being so high, it’s like built in portion control and one serving is very filling.
Supermarket RD's Pick: Banza [Chickpea Pasta] via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchen
What I really like about Banza, is that it cooks up just like pasta. Many other bean based or gluten free pastas tend to be too al dente or too mushy. Bonus, it reheats well. I brought it as leftovers for lunch the next day and it tasted great and kept its structure.

Plus, Banza is a great option for anyone following a special diet since it is protein packed, high in fiber, gluten free, grain free, non-gmo, and vegan.

Stop by the Banza website if you are looking for ways to cook with Banza. Supermarket RD's Pick: Banza [Chickpea Pasta] via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenPumpkin Mac and Cheese

Supermarket RD's Pick: Banza [Chickpea Pasta] via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenRoasted Eggplant, Ricotta, and Basil Penne

Supermarket RD's Pick: Banza [Chickpea Pasta] via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenWalnut Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes

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Disclosure: Banza did not sponsor this post. Recipe photos property of Banza. All thoughts and opinions are my own to share healthy items found in your grocery store to RDelicious Kitchen readers.