Healthy Eating

Plant-Based Pasta Salad


Are you looking for an alternative to regular pasta? Try using chickpea-based pasta, which is richer in fibre and protein than whole-wheat pasta.  

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are versatile legumes that can be added to stews, curries, snacks and salads. In a time when plant-based products are exploding, bean-based pastas are gaining traction as part of an anti-inflammatory diet. The heart-healthy soluble fibre found in chickpeas helps lower cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and maintain a healthy digestive tract. The protein in chickpeas can help slow down digestion and regulate blood sugar levels. 

Nutritional information (per serving*): 

Calories: 410; Protein (13g); Total Fat (18g); Saturated Fat (3g); Carbohydrates (52g); Fibre (8g); Sodium (205mg).  
Prep Time: 10 minutes  
Cook Time: 10 minutes 
Total Time: 20 minutes  
*Servings: 4    


  • 8 oz (227 g) fusilli chickpea pasta  
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets 
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into small florets (optional) 
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil 
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tsp garlic, paste or minced 
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning  
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice  
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp Kalamata olive brine (optional) 
  • Salt and black pepper to taste  
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped 
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped 
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped   


  1. Bring one large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, adding broccoli and cauliflower 1 minute before the end of cooking. Drain and rinse promptly with cold water.  
  2. In a large bowl, while the pasta is cooking, whisk together the oil, vinegar, olive brine, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add drained pasta, broccoli and cauliflower, combine all ingredients and coat with vinaigrette.  
  3. Mix in tomatoes and olives and season with more salt (if desired). Add basil and parsley. Serve immediately.  

Extra tips: 

  • Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered container for up to 1 day.   
  • For extra protein, add canned chickpeas or beans. Be sure to rinse under cool water to remove excess sodium before preparing meals. Also, if you don't have one yet, an electric can opener helps ease joint pain.  
  • Avoid overcooking the pasta. Plant-based pastas cooks in less time than their whole-wheat counterparts.  
  • You can use other types of bean-based pasta or whole-wheat pasta. This salad makes an excellent side for a summer potluck, but it works as a main course too.