Warm spices and a tangy vinaigrette make this high protein pasta salad a go-to for make-ahead lunches and healthy summer meals. Simple ingredients, full flavour and fresh, this pasta and carrot salad will become a favourite. You can find pasta made from plant-based protein sources in most grocery stores.
I've recently discovered all kinds of different pasta made with bean flours. Have you seen them? Ever wonder what to do with it? I have a recipe for you!
What is high protein pasta?
The brand I keep running into is Explore Cuisine, but I have seen a few others. These pastas are high in good quality plant-based protein - lentils, black beans and chickpeas. Each variety has a different and unique flavour profile.
All of Explore Cuisines varieties are 100% gluten-free and cook up just like regular pasta.
Chickpea orzo is made with chickpea flour and again, it is gluten-free. According to the package, each serving has 19 grams of protein!!
This pasta salad is made with Chickpea Orzo from Explore Cuisine. The pasta itself is nutty and earthy. The perfect backdrop to warm spices and sweet carrots.
Why this recipe works
The chickpea pasta has a nutty flavour, keeps a slightly chewy texture when cooked to package directions, and holds up well with spices and fresh herbs. Almonds add a nice bit of crunch and texture to keep this salad interesting.
Some of the key ingredients:
- Chickpea orzo - of course! This high-protein pasta cooks quickly and holds its shape and texture. If you can't find it locally, go ahead and use brown rice (for a gluten-free option) or wheat berries. Both of which will take longer to cook. Use about the same amount of dried, uncooked grains as noted in the recipe below, about 1-¼ cups dried grains.
- Shredded carrots are sweet and are about the same size as the cooked orzo. Carrots also like cumin and work this earthy spice. Tip: Use the large holes on a box grater to quickly grate the carrots.
- Spices - cumin and cayenne. Warm and earthy spices work well with sweet carrots and the favour of the chickpea pasta. I like the heat of cayenne -- use less or skip completely if you don't like too much heat.
- Lemon adds brightness and a little tang to the salad, highlighting all the spices.
- Fresh herbs - cilantro, mint and parsley are fresh and add a nice pop of colour.
- Chopped almonds add crunch and texture, keeping every bite interesting.
How to serve this pasta and carrot salad
I love this salad for lunch. It packs well and can be made ahead.
This pasta and carrot salad is the perfect side with other fresh salads or with grilled vegetables for a complete meal.
This salad will keep for about 3 days in a sealed container and refrigerated.
Substitions for chickpea orzo
If you can't find chickpea orzo you can use regular or whole wheat orzo in its place. If using orzo - use about 1-½ cups.
I also like this salad with a chewy whole grain like wheat berries or brown rice. If using whole grain, use about 1-¼ cups.
You will want 3-4 cups cooked grains for this salad.
Note: regular or whole wheat orzo pasta or wheat berries are not gluten-free.
High Protien Pasta and Carrot Salad with Cumin
- 227 grams chickpea pasta use whole wheat orzo if you can't find chickpea pasta
- 1 lemon, juiced divided
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp cumin
- ⅛ tsp cayenne powder optional if you don't like heat
- 4 carrots grated (about ½ lb of carrots)
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- ½ cup sliced or chopped almonds toasted
- ⅓ cup each cilantro and parlsey
- In a small bowl prepare dressing by mixing together juice of half a lemon, salt, olive oil, cumin, and cayenne powder. Set aside.
- Cook chickpea pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain pasta and rinse under cool water to stop cooking. Add pasta to a large bowl and sprinkle with remainig lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Toss so the lemon juice is well distributed over pasta. Add in remaining salad ingredients, carrots, scallions, herbs, almonds and vinaigrette to the bowl and toss well. Serve.