Indulge in our delightful Romesco Pasta Salad Meal Prep that’s not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. This plant-based dish is a perfect blend of wholemeal pasta, fresh veggies, and a rich Romesco-inspired sauce that will leave you craving more. It’s the ideal choice for those looking for a high-protein, high-fiber meal that’s both satisfying and easy to prepare.
The Romesco-inspired sauce, with its deep and tangy notes, takes this dish to gourmet heights. The vibrant mix of fresh kale, chickpeas, and red cabbage offers a splash of color and a wealth of nutrients. The toasted pinenuts sprinkle in a delightful crunch, making every bite a joy. It’s the perfect salad meal prep for any occasion! For the original, super popular Romesco-inspired sauce recipe we shared, check out our Zucchini & Butter Bean Salad W/ Romesco-Inspired Sauce.
Why This Pasta Salad Meal Prep Works
- High-Protein: A harmonious blend of protein-packed ingredients, making it a high-protein pasta salad.
- Flavorful: The smoky Romesco sauce adds a rich and robust touch.
- Economical: A gourmet experience while being a budget-friendly recipe option.
- Ideal Vegan Meal Prep Recipe: Perfect for those looking for high protein vegan meal prep ideas.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a nutrient-dense legume that offers numerous health benefits. They are a good source of plant-based protein and are high in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion. Additionally, chickpeas are rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and folate. If using canned chickpeas, rinse well before using. If cooking from dry, make sure to soak in a large volume of water for 16 hours prior to cooking. These tips will help minimize the discomfort one can sometimes feel when consuming legumes, especially if they are a recent addition to your diet. White beans or lentils can also be a good substitute for this meal prep.
- Wholemeal Pasta: Packed with fiber for lasting satiety. For a gluten-free option, use buckwheat, lentils, or your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Kale: Kale is a highly nutritious leafy green vegetable that offers numerous health benefits. It is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium. Kale is also a great source of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Raw kale can be quite hard, so make sure to chop it finely and massage it with oil and salt as described in the recipe.
- Purple Cabbage: Red Cabbage is very nutrient-dense. It is high in fiber, vitamin C, and K. Part of the cruciferous family, it gets it’s beautiful color from anthocyanin, a group of powerful antioxidants. My favorite way to prepare it is to shred it with a vegetable peeler. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s a lot faster than chopping, and you’ll get much thinner slices. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and some citrus (or anything acidic) and watch the magic happen; the cabbage will turn bright pink!
- Romesco Sauce: The sauce is the star of the show and is inspired by a Romesco sauce (a delicious Catalan dish), but we’ve twisted it a bit and swapped some of its almonds for tofu to keep the creaminess but bump up the protein intake. For a spicier kick, add chili flakes. To save time, I like to use jarred roasted capsicum (bell pepper). I always have some in the fridge, as they add so much flavor and are very versatile (I especially love them in pasta sauce), but you can, of course, roast your own if you prefer.
- Pine nuts: Pine nuts bring a delightful crunch. Walnuts or almonds are good alternatives. Pinenuts can be quite pricey, so we want to make the most of them, and a little goes a long way. To do so, make sure you always toast them. It really brings out their flavor. I usually toast the whole packet when I buy them and keep the toasted nuts in a jar in the fridge, so it’s always ready for a delightful add-on.
Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the wholemeal pasta and cook until al dente. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process, setting it aside for later. Prepare the Romesco Sauce by blending all the ingredients together until smooth. This vegan romesco sauce will add a burst of flavor to your pasta salad meal prep.
Soften the kale by placing it in a large bowl, adding a dash of salt and some olive oil. Massage the kale with your hands to enhance its texture and flavor. Shred the red cabbage using a vegetable peeler. Add a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, massaging until the cabbage adopts a vibrant pink hue.
Toast the pinenuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until they turn golden brown. Stir frequently to prevent them from burning. These will add a delightful crunch and nutty flavor to your dish. Assemble the salad by layering the Romesco sauce at the bottom of your serving container. Follow with the cooked pasta, chickpeas, massaged kale, and red cabbage. Finish with the toasted pinenuts on top. Serve by mixing everything well. Enjoy your nutritious and delicious Romesco Pasta Salad Meal Prep!
- Can I prepare the Romesco sauce in advance? Absolutely, it keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- How long does it stay fresh? This Romesco Pasta Salad Meal Prep can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Just ensure you follow the order of layering and use a fitted airtight container to maintain freshness.
- What makes this a high-protein pasta salad meal prep? This recipe is packed with protein-rich ingredients like chickpeas and the Romesco sauce. It’s designed to keep you full and energized throughout the day. If you want to increase the protein intake, add an extra 75 to 100g of tofu in the sauce and use lentil pasta.
- Are there other similar meal prep recipes you recommend? Absolutely! While this Romesco Pasta Salad is a favorite, you might also enjoy our High-Protein Vegan ‘Marry Me Pasta’ (Meal-Prep) or Supergreen High-Protein Pasta (Meal-Prep). Each offers a unique flavor profile and nutritional benefits.
- I’m short on time. Is this an easy pasta meal prep recipe? Yes, it is! While there are multiple components, each step is straightforward, the veggies require minimal prep, and you can use canned chickpeas and jarred capsicum to save time
- Can I serve this cold pasta meal prep during summer months? Definitely! This Romesco Pasta Salad Meal Prep is meant to enjoy cold. It’s perfect to bring to work or school; you don’t need to heat it up!
Variations and Tips
- Pasta Variations: Penne and spiral are my go to shapes for pasta salad as they seem to hold best, but you can use your favorite pasta for this one. The only ones I would avoid are spaghetti or other long shapes and styles of pasta. For a gluten-free option, buckwheat, quinoa or lentils would be a great substitute.
- Boost Protein: Use lentils or other pulse pasta and add 75 to 100g extra of tofu into the sauce.
- Nuts and Seeds: Experiment with walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds in place of or alongside pinenuts.
- Extras: Add olives, artichoke hearts, or plant-based feta cheese for a Mediterranean touch.
- Heat It Up: Sprinkle some chili flakes for added warmth.
Why You’ll Love This Healthy Pasta Salad Meal Prep
- Quick to assemble
- AND utterly scrumptious!
Romesco Pasta Salad Meal Prep
- 8 oz wholemeal pasta (cooked)
- 4 cups chopped kale
- ½ tsp olive oil
- 2 dash salt (divided)
- ¼ red cabbage (shredded)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 tbsp toasted pinenuts
- 3 jarred roasted capsicum (red bell pepper)
- 2 tbsp sundried tomato
- 150 g extra firm tofu
- ¼ cup almonds
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic cloves
- 1 pinch salt & pepper
- Prepare the wholemeal pasta by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the wholemeal pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Once cooked, drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Make the Romesco sauce by combining all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Prepare the kale by adding it to a large bowl with a dash of salt and olive oil. Massage the kale with your hands until it softens.
- Prepare the red cabbage by finely shredding it with a vegetable peeler. Add lemon juice and a dash of salt, then massage until the cabbage turns bright pink.
- Add the pine nuts to a dry skillet over medium heat until they’re golden brown. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Assemble the salad into meal prep containers by layering the Romesco sauce at the bottom, then add the cooked pasta, chickpeas, massaged kale, and cabbage slaw. Finish with the toasted pinenuts on top.
- When ready to eat, shake the container well to mix and enjoy your Romesco Pasta Salad Meal Prep!