Stay full all afternoon with this healthy high protein pasta salad with 40 grams of protein per serving. Bonus: it’s easy to make and perfect for meal prep.

Ingredients for high protein pasta salad in a large wooden salad bowl, unmixed

I don’t know about you… but if my healthy lunch tastes too healthy, I’m leaving it in the fridge and ordering takeout instead.

That’s why healthy recipes that actually taste good are so key to being consistent. With this high protein pasta salad, you’ll waste less food, save money, stay full for hours, and be guaranteed a nutrient-dense lunch that supports your health. And if that’s not good enough, it’s high in fiber too!

Try this easy recipe for your next lunch meal prep. You won’t be disappointed!

Why you’ll love this recipe

High protein: As a dietitian, I like to share protein-rich recipes that keep you full, support muscle growth, and keep cravings to a minimum.

High fiber: This recipe is loaded with nourishing fiber from lentil pasta and veggies.

Easy: You’ll have to do a little chopping, but that’s it as far as prep goes. You can even use a storebought salad dressing if that saves you time and stress!

Super tasty: Sad salads suck, and this colorful recipe isn’t one of them. You’ll get flavor in every bite from olives, pepperoncini, feta, and a tangy vinaigrette.

Meal prep friendly: This protein pasta salad gets tastier as it sits and marinates in the fridge. Prep once and eat throughout the whole week!

Salad ingredients

The base of this salad has seven ingredients:

  • Lentil pasta — use lentil or chickpea pasta if you can for extra protein and fiber
  • Cucumber — make sure to remove the seeds to avoid sogginess
  • Kalamata olives — you can sub for any olives you like
  • Pepperoncini peppers — sub for banana peppers if you prefer
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Rotisserie chicken — we use the breast only for a leaner salad
  • Vinaigrette — I’ve included an optional recipe (it’s YUM), but feel free to use store bought
Close-up photo of high protein pasta salad in a small bowl, mixed.

Dressing ingredients

You are more than welcome to use store bought vinaigrette if that makes your life easier! If you want to make my homemade dressing, this is what you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Red wine vinegar — or apple cider vinegar
  • Pepperoncini brine — or olive juice if you’d prefer
  • Garlic
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Seasonings — salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano

Step-by-step instructions

First, do some prep.

Combine all ingredients for salad dressing in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside. Cook and cool pasta, and slice vegetables, and set those aside too.

Add all ingredients to a large bowl, including salad dressing.

Ingredients for high protein pasta salad in a large wooden bowl, unmixed

Toss with dressing. Enjoy immediately or store in individual food containers for later.

High protein pasta salad in a large wooden bowl, mixed with dressing.

How to make this easier

Here are a few shortcuts to make this recipe even easier to prepare:

  • Pre-sliced olives and pepperoncini peppers
  • Pre-crumbled feta
  • Rotisserie chicken instead of prepping your own
  • Store bought vinaigrette or make dressing in advance

Variations

Try these variations to fit your tastes or dietary restrictions:

  • Dairy-free: sub feta cheese for dairy-free cheese of choice
  • Vegetarian: swap rotisserie chicken for a can of drained and rinsed white beans
  • More protein: add another 1-2 cups of chopped chicken
  • Extra veg: add a sliced bell pepper and a handful of chopped artichoke hearts
  • Extra greens: serve over a bed of arugula or baby spinach
  • Extra spicy: add a big scoop of crushed calabrian chili peppers
small bowl of protein pasta salad on a wood cutting board, styles with a green kitchen towel and wood cutting board

Meal prep instructions

This protein pasta salad works great as a make-ahead recipe.

Assemble and dress the salad as normal, then divide amongst six food containers (or less, if you want a bigger portion). Store in the fridge for up to four days.

Before you eat the pasta salad, give it a quick stir in case any dressing or juices have fallen to the bottom of the container.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best lentil pasta?

Any pasta made from lentils will work! I use the Catelli Red Lentil Rotini in this recipe but use whatever brand is available at your grocery store.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

I’d recommend a lentil or chickpea pasta for the extra protein and fiber. If you can’t find either, sub for a protein pasta like Barilla Protein+ (it has less fiber) or whole wheat.

What’s a good store bought salad dressing?

Any vinaigrette you like the taste of will work. If you can find one that uses olive oil, that would be best health-wise!

Ingredients for high protein pasta salad in a large wooden salad bowl, unmixed
5 from 2 votes

High Protein Pasta Salad

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Stay full all afternoon with this healthy high protein pasta salad with 40 grams of protein per serving. It's perfect for meal prep!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 package cooked lentil or protein pasta, 250 g box
  • 1 diced cucumber, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers, sliced
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 cups chopped skinless rotisserie chicken breasts, about 2 breasts
  • 3/4 cup vinaigrette , store bought or recipe below

Creamy Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp pepperoncini brine from the jar, optional
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp each salt, red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp each oregano, garlic powder, onion powder

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl

Instructions
 

  • Prepare salad dressing: Combine all ingredients for salad dressing in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  • Prepare ingredients: Cook and cool pasta, crumble cheese, and slice vegetables. Set aside.
  • Assemble salad: Add all ingredients to a large bowl, including salad dressing. Toss together. Enjoy immediately or store in individual food containers for later.

Notes

Nutrition facts calculated with dressing.
Calories: 552kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 702mg, Potassium: 426mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 340IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 198mg, Iron: 8mg
Cuisine: American, Italian
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Salad