Ready for another quick yet mighty delicious recipe? Check out my insanely nutritious red lentil pasta salad that stands out and highly impresses with its unique flavor profile. It is high in protein, high in fiber, and will make a great main dish or serve as the perfect side salad for your next barbecue.
I just love all kinds of pasta salads. One of my favorites definitely is this Mediterranean Orzo Salad. This particular dish stands out due to its utilization of red lentil pasta, imparting a unique touch and rendering it a remarkably wholesome choice, full of dietary fiber. Moreover, it adheres to a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle.
What makes this Pasta Salad so special
- Nourishing: The pasta salad is incredibly healthy and packs a punch in terms of valuable nutrients. It is loaded with fiber (thanks to the lentil pasta), plant-based protein, and an abundance of vitamins. And if the above hasn’t yet convinced you to give this recipe a try…it is also vegan and gluten-free.
- Unique flavor profile: A different kind of pasta salad. This salad is a great alternative to the classic wheat pasta dish. If you’re looking for more variety and versatility or simply have embarked on a new, gluten-free journey, then this is the recipe for you!
- Colorful: A feast for the eyes as well! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Wrong. Well, at least in this case. 😉 Who doesn’t like to enjoy a delicious but also visually stunning dish? I know, I do. Lots of beautiful colors make this salad a pure joy to spoil one’s taste buds.
Only a few simple ingredients are required to create this delectable dish. Here are a few tips and other helpful information regarding the ingredients in question:
- Red Lentil Pasta: A gluten-free and protein-rich alternative to your traditional pasta. It is essentially made from ground red lentils or red lentil flour.
- Red Bell Pepper: Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, while also adding the perfect crunch to our dish. Feel free to use yellow or green bell peppers. Whatever floats your boat.
- Tomatoes: I would suggest using smaller, firmer tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes. These contain less water, keeping your salad from “drowning” and creating a visually pleasing salad.
- Avocados: These provide healthy fats and add a nice, creamy component. Depending on your personal preference, choose a less ripe avocado if you’re aiming for the individual chunks to keep their shape, OR go with a riper avocado if your goal is to provide more creaminess and better distribution throughout the salad.
- Walnuts: Also packed with healthy fatty acids and provide some additional crunch. Simply cut them into small pieces if you don’t already have chopped ones in your pantry.
- Red Onions: I’d highly recommend using red onions for this salad. Their purplish-red skin not only create a colorful visual, but also delight with another element of crunchiness while simultaneously adding a sweeter (yet pungent) oniony flavor to your dish. Of course, if, unlike myself, you aren’t a fan of red onions, grab whatever onion “sizzles your bacon”.
See recipe card for quantities.
The red lentil pasta salad is quickly and easily prepared. You’ll be in and out of the kitchen in no time at all.
Cook the pasta as per package directions. Add red lentil pasta to boiling, salted water.
Depending on the individual manufacturer, cooking time is anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes. Make sure to do a little taste test to ensure their consistency is to your liking.
While preparing the lentil pasta, you may as well go ahead and get a head start on preparing the rest of the ingredients (see step 3). Multitasking is our friend now, isn’t it?
Step 2: Drain pasta and set aside to allow for a slight cool-down. Then, add pasta to a large bowl (it’s ok for the pasta to still be warm) and drizzle olive oil over the pasta. Mix well and allow for further cooling.
Step 3: Rinse red bell pepper and chop into bite-sized cubes. Depending on how big your cherry tomatoes are, cut them into halves or quarters.
Now, slice the avocado in half lengthwise. Once cut in half, give the two halves a gentle twist in opposite directions. Just a little twist is all it should take for one half to fully separate from the other cleanly. Very carefully remove the large pit and continue to separate the flesh from its skin and chop it into small chunks as well.
Peel the onion and either cut it into small chunks or, if you prefer, halve it first and then cut it crosswise for pretty half-moon shapes. Totally up to you! While rings or half-moon shapes are more pleasing to the eye, cutting them into smaller pieces will provide a better distribution throughout the salad and makes the chow-down process easier. Again, your call! 😉
Coarsely chop the walnuts. Thoroughly wash your arugula and cut or pluck it into itty-bitty pieces.
Step 4: Add red bell pepper, tomatoes, avocado, onions, walnuts, and arugula to your red lentil pasta and incorporate well.
Step 5: Add your white balsamic vinegar and generously season with salt and black pepper. If needed, add a bit of water. Mix well, et voilà, your red lentil pasta salad is ready for action!
I would recommend preparing this salad shortly before or closer to being served. Most lentil pasta tastes best freshly made and loses some of its flavor if prepared way ahead of time. Of course, that all depends on the individual manufacturer as well, but for the best outcome, prepare as close to chow-time as possible.
Yes, red lentil pasta can be considered a healthy option. It is typically made from red lentil flour, which is a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. This pasta is gluten-free, has a lower glycemic index compared to traditional wheat pasta, and can be a nutritious choice for those seeking a protein-rich, higher-fiber alternative.
Yes, red lentil pasta is generally lower in carbohydrates compared to traditional wheat pasta. Lentil pasta has 61 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams and what pasta has 84 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams. However, it’s only a slight difference per serving and may not have a significant impact on overall carb intake for most people.
Looking for other salad recipes like this? Try these:
Red Lentil Pasta Salad
- 8.8 oz red lentil pasta
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 oz arugula
- 1 avocado
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1 small red onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- salt, black pepper
- Cook the pasta as per package directions, then drain.
- Add warm pasta to a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over it.
- Chop red bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, avocado, and walnuts into small chunks. Tear arugula by hand into bite-sized pieces as well.
- Add the above prepared ingredients to the slightly cooled pasta and mix well.
- Generously season with salt and black pepper, then incorporate vinegar. If more moisture is needed, add a bit of water.