Bowl of pasta salad with brown sauce and leaf garnishes on the side

A Taste of Italy

You will be delighted with the flavors of this Italian-style pasta salad. A nice addition is the red lentil pasta, whose sole ingredient is healthy, protein-rich red lentils, plus all the fiber and nutrients of the whole wheat rotini. When using whole grain pastas in cold dishes, cook them slightly beyond al dente for the best texture. Be sure to blend the dressing well to ensure the chia seeds break down.

Prep Instructions

  • Yield: 12 (¼ cup) servings
  • Prep Time: 11-12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Total Time: 36-42 minutes

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup liquid from the can of garbanzos
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons agave
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sweet basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 cups whole wheat rotini
  • 1 cup red lentil penne
  • 1/2 cup sweet red pepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cups red onion
  • 3/4 cup black olives
  • 15 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups broccoli, tiny florets
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, halved and sliced
  • 1 cup garbanzos
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. For the dressing, combine the garbanzo liquid, lemon juice, agave, chia seeds, salt, onion, and garlic powder in a blender, mixing until seeds are well blended. Add the remaining seasonings and blend again to lightly break down the additional herbs but not liquefy them. Chill.
  2. Put whole wheat and red lentil pastas into boiling water and cook exactly 11 minutes. When using whole grain and lentil pastas cold, it is essential that they are well cooked in order to have the same nice mouth feel of white pastas. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. Quarter and slice the pepper and onion; halve the olives and tomatoes.
  4. Combine the pasta, salad ingredients (except tomatoes), and dressing. Continue to fold the dressing and salad ingredients until no dressing is lying in the bottom of the bowl. Chill, and stir again just before serving; add the tomatoes at this time. If you wish, garnish with chopped parsley.

NOTE: Flavors improve as this recipe stands, so it can be made several hours in advance or even the day before; just be sure to add the tomatoes at serving time.

Nutritional Data

Calories: 160.13
Fat: 5.55 g
Saturated Fat: 0.31 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 352.76 mg
Carbohydrates: 24.45 g
Fiber: 4.58 g
Sugars: 4.62 g
Protein: 5.23 g
© AdventHealth