Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #336: Picnic Pasta Salad

By Eman Kemp, Open Arms of Minnesota Registered Dietitian

Photo Credit: Foodista/Flickr

Summertime is in full swing, and that means picnics! Picnics are a great time to gather around with friends and family. Barbequed foods are plentiful at picnics, so why not bring something with some extra fiber and vegetables?

This picnic pasta salad packs a protein punch with chickpeas and lots of summer vegetables. You can easily find many of these veggies from your local farmers market or even a backyard garden. It’s easy to modify, too, and to add more or less depending on preference.

Try whole-grain pasta noodles instead of regular pasta for a boost in fiber or pasta made from beans, chickpeas, corn or rice–find these options at your local grocery store.


Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 8 servings


For pasta salad:

  • 8 ounces fusilli or penne pasta
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese

For dressing:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 ½ tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • 1 lemon, juiced


  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Blend dressing ingredients together in a high-powered blender or food processor and drizzle dressing over pasta.
  • Let pasta salad cool in the fridge covered for at least 2 hours before serving.


For 1 Serving: 308 calories, 16 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 308 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 8 g protein, 2 mg cholesterol


More from Open Arms

Open Arms, Covid-19 Policy Update

OPen Arms Mask Policy Update (5/23/22) Due to the increasing rate of COVID-19 infection in the Minnesota community and beyond, Open Arms of Minnesota has temporarily reinstated its mask mandate in both kitchens and the entirety of its headquarters at 2500 Bloomington Ave., starting

Read More »