Is there anything better than a big, bold, and filling pasta dish for lunch? This Mediterranean Chickpea Pasta Salad Recipe is just bursting with flavor and healthy ingredients that will keep you fuller for longer. The best part is that you can make a big batch at the start of the week and enjoy it for lunch all week long. Craving something a little different to switch things up? Add some grilled chicken breasts or canned tuna to give you a quick and easy variation that ticks all the boxes. The perfect summer pasta salad.
Before jumping to the recipe please note that the below information contains HOT TIPS for this recipe. We try and answer all your questions to guarantee a perfect lunchbox recipe every time.
🥙 Mediterranean Chickpea Pasta Salad Recipe
Move over boring ol' pasta salads for lunch with the same old ingredients every time.
This chickpea pasta salad recipe is just bursting with big flavors to keep you excited for lunch all week long.
Easily changed up with lots of possible variations so you don't feel like you are eating the same thing every day and perfect for meal prep.
🧂 Ingredients You Need
We try and keep things easy around here, so you will need a handful of simple, easy to find grocery essentials for this salad recipe.
Go on ahead and stock up on:
- red onion: you can totally get away with a brown onion, a red onion just adds a great little pop of color, and we are all about big and colorful salads around here (if you are sensitive to raw onion, or have children that don't like strong onion flavors then see my tip below for making it less strong in flavor);
- pasta spirals: I used barilla brand chickpea spirals to keep the recipe gluten-free and more filling, however, you can use whatever pasta shape you prefer. You can also use regular pasta, whole wheat pasta, or protein pasta if preferred.
- mixed olives: I used a mix of pitted kalamata olives and green olives from the deli, draining from the oil they come in before using;
- bell peppers: again, here I used a mix of red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper to keep the salad fun and bright;
- cherry tomatoes: if you have larger tomatoes you can just chop them to suit;
- canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans);
- feta cheese: I measure with the heart when it comes to feta. Buy one that crumbles easily and is nice and creamy.
That's it for the chickpea salad itself.
Top it all off with a super delicious lemony salad dressing made from a combination of lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, and chili flakes.
A sprinkle of fresh parsley and fresh basil on top and you are good to go.
TIP: to lessen the intense flavor of the onion, shop it up and then soak it in cold water for about 5 minutes before draining and using in the salad.
🍗 Possible Variations
This cold pasta salad really is a super versatile salad and can be changed up in lots of ways so it feels like you are eating a completely different meal every day.
Why not try adding some extra protein or veg with:
- grilled chicken breast
- shredded rotisserie chicken for a quick and easy addition
- grilled salmon fillet
- canned salmon
- canned tuna
- chopped roasted artichoke hearts
- roasted red peppers
- a couple of hard-boiled eggs on top
- grilled tofu for some added protein while keeping the salad plant-based
The possible variations are endless, so feel free to add whatever tickles your fancy to really make this salad work for you and yours.
Of course, you can serve it as is, no need for any extras as it is absolutely scrumptious just the way it is!
📋 How To Make Chickpea Pasta Salad
I just love how flavorsome this salad is when it comes together so quickly and without any special skills at all.
Start with cooking the pasta according to the package directions.
TIP: be sure to cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Do not forget to salt the water before adding the pasta, as this adds so much flavor to the dish.
Now, this may seem like a simple step, but there are a few little tips I have here to make sure you end up with the best version of this salad.
Once the pasta has been cooked, drain it, and give it a quick rinse in water to remove any extra starch which can lead to a sticky salad if not removed. Now drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent it all from sticking together and set it aside to cool slightly.
Make up your dressing by adding all of the ingredients to the bottom of a large bowl and giving a quick rinse.
Add the cooked pasta to the large bowl with the dressing and give it all a good stir to make sure the pasta is completely covered.
Add the chopped veggies, chickpeas, and feta, and give it all a mix again until everything is evenly distributed.
Pop into the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the whole thing cool completely.
As the pasta cools it will absorb the dressing, giving the chickpea pasta salad the consistency you want.
When it comes time to serve, throw on some more feta and some freshly chopped herbs and you are good to go.
TIP: if you find the flavor of raw onion overwhelming, simply soak the chopped onion in a small bowl with some cold water for about 5 minutes and drain before adding it to the salad.
💭 Important Teaching Tips
Salt the pasta water before adding the pasta. This forms the base of the recipe and it is imperative to achieving a super flavorful salad.
It is important not to overcook the pasta.
If it is overcooked you will end up with a soggy pasta salad which may also become mushy and not appetizing.
Cook according to the directions on the package until the pasta is just al dente.
Once cooked, pop into a sieve to allow the hot water to drain, then give the pasta a quick rinse to remove the excess starch, pop the pasta back into the pot, drizzle with olive oil and give it a good stir to prevent everything sticking together.
Pop aside to cool to room temperature before using.
Once you have mixed in the dressing and the chopped veggies, chickpeas, etc it is important to pop the whole salad into the fridge to cool for at least 30 mins. This gives the pasta time to absorb the dressing and for the whole salad to become cool.
Keep stored in the fridge in an airtight container until needed.
Top with the extra feta and fresh herbs just when serving, or when packing the lunchbox. If you want to go the extra mile you might want to pack the extra feta and herbs in a different container and simply sprinkle them on right before eating.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
🥢 Useful Products
Chickpea pasta salad is best served cold, so if you are packing it for lunch and will not have access to a fridge you will want to make sure you pack it with a couple of ice packs.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This salad is just perfect served as is with a sprinkle of crumbled feta and some fresh herbs sprinkled on the top right when you are about to serve.
A little bit of pita on the side and you are good to go.
I have this as a main meal for lunch all of the time.
But it also makes an easy side dish or easy dinner with some added protein for a full meal.
If you prefer to have pasta salad as a side to some protein then check out the list of possible variations above for lots of ideas on how to serve this delicious Mediterranean pasta salad.
Packing in a lunchbox: I would pair this with a sweet treat like one of these Sweet and Fluffy Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins, a fruit salad, and a boiled egg.
👪 Frequently Asked Questions
This salad is perfect all by itself and is super filling due to the addition of the chickpea pasta and the chickpeas, plus all of the veggies.
It also pairs well with grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon, canned salmon, or canned tuna for a substantial meal.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This will fast become your favorite pasta to meal prep and pack for the week ahead. Be sure to leave a 5 star rating on the recipe card or comment below.
Mediterranean Chickpea Pasta Salad
- 10 ounces (280g) chickpea pasta
- 8 ounces (225g) feta
- 1 cup canned chickpeas drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 small bell peppers chopped (use different colors)
- 1 small red onion diced
- ½ cup mixed olives pitted and halved
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (look for a good quality oil)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
- sea salt to taste
- red chili flakes to taste
- fresh chopped parsley for serving
- fresh chopped basil for serving
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging. Once cooked drain in a sieve, rinse with cold water, and place the rinsed pasta back in the pot. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.10 ounces (280g) chickpea pasta
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl or a mason jar and mix to combine.3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 3 teaspoons honey, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, sea salt to taste, red chili flakes to taste
- Once the pasta is chilled, transfer it to a large bowl, add the chopped veggies, feta, chickpeas, salt, pepper and chili flakes if desired, and give a quick mix to combine.8 ounces (225g) feta, 1 cup canned chickpeas, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 2 small bell peppers, 1 small red onion, ½ cup mixed olives
- Drizzle over the dressing and give everything a good mix to combine, ensuring the dressing is evenly distributed.
- Pop the salad into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- To serve: sprinkle with extra feta, chopped basil and chopped parsley.fresh chopped parsley, fresh chopped basil
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.