Easy Chickpea Pasta Salad and Grandma Rosie’s Tangy and Tart Dressing

Searching for an easy pasta salad with Italian dressing just in time for summer? Look no further as I’m about to introduce you to a protein-rich pasta salad topped with my grandmother’s award-winning Italian dressing recipe (for real, she won an award back in the day for this tangy sweetness, although I use apple cider vinegar in my version).

Chickpea pasta is a smart swap for whole-wheat pasta if you area looking for a filling meal that will help you increase your fiber intake, your protein amount, and potentially lower your total carb amount (depending on which brand you purchase). I choose it in this dish over pasta substitutes like rice pasta because those tend to get mushy, have a lower nutritional density, and often have little flavor.

But…what really makes this dish, in my opinion, is the dressing! It is a tastebud extravaganza that combines sweetness with tangy with loads of flavor. Fresh, heart-healthy garlic mixed with honey, lemon and other healthy ingredients like Pink Himalayan salt round out this easy to prepare meal.

So, if you need a dish to pass at your church picnic, summer BBQ, date night or post-quarantine dinner party with friends, this chickpea pasta salad with Italian dressing will be a hands-down winner. I promise. Just go easy on the dressing at first, because it really packs a punch! I would recommend pouring half of the finished product on the pasta dish, stir, and taste. If you want more flavor, use a little more. I typically use 3/4 of the dressing recipe on the pasta (and save the rest as dip for warm bread).

Pasta Ingredients

  • 12 oz chickpea spaghetti (I prefer Explore Cuisine brand in this recipe)
  •  1 cucumber, diced or cut into boat rounds
  •  1 cup small cherry tomatoes, cut in half and then half again
  •  1 can medium or large black olives (or Kalamata), each sliced in half or quartered
  •  ½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese (or grated cheese substitute)

Grandma Rosie’s Tangy and Tart Homemade Italian Dressing Ingredients

  •  ½ cup olive oil
  •  ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  •  1 large clove of fresh garlic, pressed
  •  1 juice of a medium lemon
  •  1 ½–2  teaspoons honey
  •  ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  •  ½ teaspoon black pepper
  •  1 teaspoon dried basil
  •  1 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Prepare your mise en place. I generally start by making the dressing. Combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, fresh garlic, lemon, honey, salt, pepper and spices. Mix very well and store in a container with a tight lid.
  2. Next, boil water in a large pot and prepare chickpea pasta according to instructions on the package. When fully cooked, drain and rinse quickly with cold water.
  3. Place the pasta in a large bowl and add cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, Parmesan cheese, and half of the dressing. Mix very well. Taste and add more dressing if you want.
  4. Top with extra Parmesan cheese if desired and enjoy!