Chickpea Pasta Salad is a fresh and flavorful dish packed with protein, chopped veggies, and whole grain pasta.
Protein is one of those foods that is hit or miss when it comes to Joey and Anthony’s appetites. I swear there are more moments at mealtime when I remind myself they’ll love beef tenderloin or herb roasted chicken when they are 22 years old. Right?! But for now, a bite or two of steak and chicken will suffice. Because Mom has a trick or two up her sleeve for getting other sources of protein in their diets, like this chickpea pasta salad. Now if only the same could be said for Dad… [ps. He’s not a chickpea fan].
But back to the boys. And protein. Our bodies, brains, and bellies need protein for a variety of reasons. For me, I’m all about protein because I know it helps with muscle maintenance, weight management, and helping with that feeling of fullness. For the boys, I know they need protein to help their little growing bodies and brains to function properly. Lucky for us, there are plenty of protein options at the grocery store beyond chicken, beef, and seafood that they’ll eat. HELLO MILK! And chickpeas, obviously being one of them in this chickpea pasta salad. And then other dairy products. Like the main ingredient in the dressing: yogurt!
Now before you go swapping out the dairy [if you want an animal-product-free dish], consider this: animal proteins, like dairy products, are considered complete proteins. They contain all of the amino acids are bodies need to reap all those health benefits I mentioned before. Plant proteins, like the chickpeas, and other beans, nuts, and legumes, are considered incomplete proteins because they do not. So that’s why I combined the two: the chickpeas are accompanied by a complete protein, to ensure we are getting the best nutrition in our meals. Have I made you want to study nutrition yet?!?! Don’t worry, I’m here for you… textbooks and pasta salads and all!
- 1 [16 ounce] package farfalle pasta
- 1 [15 ounce] can garbanzo beans, drained
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup cucumber, diced
- ½ cup cow’s milk feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup plain Greek Yogurt
- ¼ cup fat-free milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice [about half a lemon]
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest [about one lemon]
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients for the dressing. Whisk until well combined.
- Toss the pasta, chickpeas, cheese, and vegetables with the dressing. Store in your refrigerator until ready to serve.
But in all seriousness, my boys loved this chickpea pasta salad [trick: I let them dip the individual ingredients in the pasta salad in the sauce vs. mixing it for them— my kids love dipping]. And for the rest of us that live life without the dip requirement, it’s a simple, nutrient-rich salad you can pack for a lunch or keep in the fridge for a few days. Enjoy! Chickpea Pasta Salad makes an easy side dish or light main for any summer BBQ or picnic! Click To Tweet
Disclaimer: I am proud to partner with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan to bring you healthy recipes made with cow’s milk. Because of these great partnerships I am able to share delicious and nutritious family-friendly recipes. As always all opinion and ideas are 100% my own. Find out why Milk Means More on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.