Loaded Pasta Salad

Here's the Dish

Pasta salad is generally loaded with heavy cheeses, dressings, and meats. My pasta salad is light, refreshing, and almost too good to be true! I loaded my pasta salad with tons of veggies and a light and flavorful homemade dressing that brings the calories down to only 126 per cup! The pasta itself is loaded with fiber and protein, so when combined with all of the veggies in this dish, it packs a powerful nutrient punch!


The estimated total time to make this recipe is 15-20 Minutes.


Start by cooking the pasta according to package directions, (3 cups dry pasta cooks in about 10-15 minutes).


Meanwhile, chop celery, red pepper, and red onion into fine dice. Chop cherry tomatoes in half. (The chopping doesn’t have to be precise, just to your liking!)


Make dressing by placing all of the ingredients in a sealed water bottle, or Tupperware container, and shake until everything is well combined.


Once pasta is done cooking, place in a strainer, and rinse with cool water. Add pasta to a large serving bowl.  Add chopped vegetables, beans, peas, olives, and cheese. Lightly toss to combine everything.


Pour dressing over pasta salad, and toss until everything is coated with dressing. Serve immediately, (or place in the fridge overnight and serve the next day for the best results!)


3 cupsDry pasta1
1/2 cup Garbanzo beans (or white beans)
1/2 cup Feta cheese (or shredded parmesan would be good)
1/2 cup Olives (I buys pre-sliced)
1 cupCelery, diced
1 cup Red pepper, diced
1 cup Cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
1/2 cup Red onion, diced
1/2 cup Green peas2
1/2 cup Cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 pkg Dry Italian dressing mix (I used Good Seasons brand)
1/4 cup White vinegar
1/4 cup Water
1/2 tsp Lemon juice
PinchSalt and pepper to taste
OptionalVariations: 1/2 tsp sugar substitute added to the dressing for a sweeter dressing (or 1 package stevia, or to taste) or add 1/2 cup chopped chicken (to an individual serving) to turn this pasta salad into a well-rounded meal! You may also use 1/2 cup bottled light Italian dressing in place of the homemade version!

1 I used Smart Choice brand, but any pasta with high fiber/protein would work.

2 I used frozen peas, and defrosted them in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Nutrition Breakdown

9.5 Servings (1 cup)
126 Calories Per Serving
8 WWP+*

*Weight Watchers Points per serving


Sarah said:

I love pasta salad! I will have to try this one out at our next get-together

June 6th, 2011 — 1:43pm  |  Reply

doreen said:

this looks so yummy !!! i cant wait to make some!

June 6th, 2011 — 3:19pm  |  Reply

Rach said:

So colorful! Looks yummy!

June 6th, 2011 — 4:25pm  |  Reply

Katie said:

I adore your blog! I might of been by before but I know if I have , I would of been back ! So maybe not! U are too cute, u and your husband are! I love your story and just love your outlook on life! Oh and your recipes are pretty awesome too ; )

Have a great night!

June 6th, 2011 — 6:40pm  |  Reply

Liz @ iheartvegetables said:

Yummm that looks like such a perfect summer salad!

June 6th, 2011 — 8:16pm  |  Reply

kate said:

I love the addition of garbanzo beans in pasta salad, yum!

June 7th, 2011 — 7:43am  |  Reply

Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) said:

I love pasta salads. This recipe is wonderful :D

June 9th, 2011 — 6:00pm  |  Reply

Jelena said:

tried this today, love it! love your blog :) ps – how long do you think this can keep in the fridge…? thanks for sharing your creations with us!

September 19th, 2011 — 3:31pm  |  Reply

Elisia said:

I add an individual 90 calorie packet of tuna to my serving and it makes a great lunch! Thanks for the awesome recipe. It is delicious!

January 10th, 2012 — 9:13am  |  Reply

Jessica said:

Looks awesome!
Do you think this would be alright to freeze?

January 18th, 2012 — 6:41am  |  Reply

Renee said:

This pasta salad looks awesome! The ww points seem a little high for it though. It says 126 calories per serving and 8 pp. Typically there is only about 40 calories per ww point. This is on average, more or less depending on fat, fiber, carbs, etc. I would think it would be more like 3 or 4 pp depending on the nutrition facts. I enjoy your blog. I have been doing WW for 5 1/2 months now and have lost 18 lbs. I am also a believer so it is encouraging to read your posts. Thanks for the hard work!

March 4th, 2012 — 5:38pm  |  Reply

Lindsay said:

Wow looks delicious!!! Can’t wait it try it. You are an amazing and inspiring woman! I admire your faith and dedication to a healthy life.

I agree with the previous poster. It seems like the pp value would be a lot lower considering how low the calories are and it seems really low in fat? Either way, I’m excited to try it :)

March 14th, 2012 — 8:36pm  |  Reply

Tyler Rider said:

Hi! I just picked up all the ingredients to make this delicious looking salad, and I can’t wait to have it as a side for my son’s 1st birthday! My question is, in the picture, I keep noticing something that looks like cucumber or zucchini, but it’s not listed as an ingredient. Is it just missing from the list?

April 26th, 2012 — 6:57pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

oopss…. this must of been a typo when transferring the recipe to the new site (we had to do them by hand!)

April 26th, 2012 — 7:14pm  | 

Jeannie said:

I made this for my fourth of July party and it was yum! I omitted the olives, celery and peas bc my husband is not a fan of those and i used balsamic vinegar in the dressing instead of regular vinegar and it was so so good! Thank you!

July 5th, 2012 — 12:11pm  |  Reply

Megan said:

I see you get smart choice pasta, is that the same as smart taste? Is that healthier than whole wheat pasta? Do you have a recommended high fiber/protein whole wheat pasta to use?

March 17th, 2013 — 12:45pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

yes same thing…and i like it better because it tastes like white pasta but with the added benefits

March 17th, 2013 — 3:08pm  | 

Kasey said:

I am making this now – looks fabulous! Why no oil when making the good seasons dressing?

July 5th, 2013 — 3:33pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

its not needed for this recipe but you could add it…but it will change nutrition info

July 8th, 2013 — 1:49pm  | 

Pamela McClendon said:

I love pasta salad! I’ll try this one, it sounds great!

July 21st, 2013 — 2:18am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks doreen! :)

June 6th, 2011 — 3:45pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

Yeah thanks sarah! :)

June 6th, 2011 — 3:46pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks so much katie! :)

June 7th, 2011 — 6:21am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks liz! :)

June 7th, 2011 — 6:21am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks kate! :)

June 7th, 2011 — 9:30am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks jenny! :)

June 10th, 2011 — 12:01pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

thanks jelena! you can keep it for 5-7 days in the fridge!

September 19th, 2011 — 11:55pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

ahhh not to sure if i would freeze cooked pasta jessica! :)

January 18th, 2012 — 5:21pm  |  Reply

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