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High Protein Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Are you bored of the same old leafy salads for lunch? Craving more variety in your diet without sacrificing protein? Needing a versatile meal prep option that stays well in the fridge?

Say goodbye to dull lunches, and hello to this High Protein Mediterranean Pasta Salad!



Why is High Protein Pasta Salad a Great Meal Option?

High protein pasta salad offers so many benefits as meal option. For one, it's a convenient and simple dish that can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for several days. This makes it an ideal choice for meal prepping - a practice that can save you both time, money, and stress throughout the week.


Second, this high protein pasta salad is a wonderfully versatile dish that can be customized to your specific taste preferences and dietary needs. You can use any type of pasta you like - whole wheat, gluten-free, chickpea, or lentil - and incorporate a variety of ingredients depending on what you have on hand or your personal preferences.


Third, this pasta salad is a nutrient-dense meal that provides a range of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Depending on the ingredients you include, you can enjoy sources of iron, calcium, fiber, healthy fats, and more, making it a well-rounded and nourishing option. The ingredients come together to create a delightful, Mediterranean-inspired flavor profile while still helping you reach your nutrition goals.


What Are the Nutrition Benefits?

Protein Pasta: Opting for a high protein pasta (we use Barilla protein+) increases the nutrient density of this dish and leaves us feeling fuller and more satisfied. Protein is essential for building muscle, creating hormones, and for helping our body repair cells and make new ones.


Vegetables: As dietitians, we encourage our clients to have a variety of vegetables as often as possible. This vegetable-dense pasta salad incorporates many different vegetables, making it easy to reach your veggie goals.


Cheese: Cheese is a great source of calcium, fat, and protein along with various other vitamins and minerals. We used goat cheese, but feel free to use what you like, such as feta or mozzarella balls.


Fresh Herbs: Much like leafy greens, herbs pack in nutrition! Fresh herbs contain large amounts of vitamins A, C and K and contain polyphenols - plant compounds that have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Not to mention how much fresh flavor they add! Dried herbs can be used too; a general rule of conversion for using dried herbs is to use 1/3 of the original quantity of fresh herbs.


Olive Oil: Olive oil is comprised of monounsaturated fats, a healthy type of dietary fat that is essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, boots our skin health, and helps keep the heart healthy.


High-Protein Mediterranean Pasta Salad


INGREDIENTS:

▢ 8 oz. Barilla protein+ pasta

▢ 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

▢ 1/2 English cucumber, chopped

▢ 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped

▢ 1/4 cup red onion, chopped

▢ 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

▢ 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

▢ 1.5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

▢ 2 oz pitted kalamata olives, sliced

▢ salt and pepper to taste DRESSING:

▢ ¼ cup olive oil

▢ 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

▢ 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

▢ 1 teaspoon oregano

▢ 1 garlic clove minced

▢ ½ teaspoon salt

▢ ¼ teaspoon black pepper


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and prevent the pasta from getting mushy. Add to a large mixing bowl.

  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a container and whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.

  3. Add the chopped vegetables, herbs, cheese, olives, and dressing to the mixing bowl. Mix to combine everything thoroughly.

Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors develop. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!




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