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Easy Pasta Salad

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

This is good to take to barbecues or potlucks so you have something wholesome to eat. It is filling, familiar to most typical eaters, and tasty. No one will notice the missing oil. It is also kid-friendly. If you buy a fat-free dressing from the store, be careful to choose a low-sugar variety.


16 ounces 100% whole wheat or brown rice pasta

2 large tomatoes, diced

1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 medium to large red onion, diced

1 crown of broccoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed

1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced of whole black olives (optional)

1 cup or more of your favorite fat free, low-sodium salad dressing (see below)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain, rinse with cold water, and place in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, steamed broccoli, kidney beans, chickpeas, and olives (if using). Mix to combine.

You can use your choice of oil-free dressings. I like a balsamic-raisin vinaigrette, which you can find here. There are several no oil balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipes readily available online. If you want a pre-made dressing, Maple Grove Farms has a variety of fat-free dressings, though you have to be mindful that the sugar content can add up very quickly.

Pour the salad dressing a little at a time over the pasta and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Continue adding salad dressing and stirring until the salad is well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Eat at room temperature.

TIP: Broccoli florets can be lightly cooked with the pasta if added to the pasta pot for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse with the pasta.

Makes 6 large servings

Nutrition Info (for 1 serving)

(Analysis of recipe made with whole wheat pasta and 1/4 cup olives and 1 cup of the dressing recipe that is linked in the description. Choosing a different dressing or different type of pasta may result in significantly different nutrition content.)

Calories 550 Fat 6g, Carbohydrate 102g, Protein 24g

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