This cold bean pasta salad is refreshing, healthy, and super easy and quick to toss together! If you have kids or picky eaters this is a must try. You'll be making the best of all the ingredients, using the bean and olive juice in the dressing!
I'm loving this bean powered pasta salad! Especially with warmer weather, a cold pasta salad always hits the spot! I don't want something too heavy and it's a double win if I don't have to turn on my oven.
You can enjoy this pasta salad as a lunch dish, side dish, or a full dinner! I have the servings set at 3 on the recipe card which would be for a lunch portion. If you're enjoying this as a full dinner I would say it serves 2. If you ask my husband, it serves 1😋.
What's in This Pasta Salad?
I went with dark kidney beans for the protein in this pasta. You could easily change that up, but I think the flavor and texture of kidney beans is the best! Save the juice because you'll use some for the dressing!
Fusilli noodles are always a great option for cold pasta salads. They're easy to eat in one bite and they hold sauce and dressing well. You could use a shell noodle, penne, or macaroni as well.
I didn't want the spice from raw yellow or purple onion, so I went with a more mellow green onion. Also, we have load and loads of green onion growing all over our yard so the more reasons to use it the better! You could easily replace green onion with another type if you choose.
Black olives are sort of the secret weapon in this recipe. They add really great flavor and you'll use the juice in the dressing. It adds the salt in the pasta without needing any added sea salt!
Tomatoes add such great color and freshness so they're a must! I like to use Roma tomatoes because they have a little more meat on them and not as much of the juice and seeds. You could also use cherry tomatoes quartered.
For the dressing you'll combine bean juice, olive juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper. The apple cider vinegar adds a great punch without being too strong, and keeps the recipe kid friendly. You can easily start out with 1 tablespoon vinegar (which doesn't add much tang at all) then increase it to your liking. The same goes for the salt. You can start with 2 tablespoon olive juice (which is very low salt) and then increase as needed. The olive oil helps bind the dressing more to the pasta and helps create a smoother flavor.
Check the notes on the recipe card for a more mellow dressing recipe and follow the recipe as is for a wonderfully light but more flavorful dressing!
Let's not get too technical and detailed with this recipe. It's super simple and extremely easy to change up as you wish. It will stay fresh for a few days in your fridge, but with the beans I wouldn't push it past that. Just enjoy!
Bean Powered Pasta Salad
- 2 cups uncooked fusilli noodles (equal to 3 cups cooked noodles)
- 1 large Roma tomato, diced (about 1 cup diced)
- ⅓ cup green onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup black olives, quartered
- 15.5 ounces dark kidney beans (1 can or about 1 ½ cup drained)
Dressing * See Notes
- 2 tablespoon kidney bean juice
- ¼ cup olive juice
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- Read through instructions before starting.
- Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Add in 2 cups uncooked fusilli noodles and cook until al dente (about 10-11 minutes).
- Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.
- While the noodles cook, dice your tomato and green onion and quarter the olives, setting aside the olive juice. Drain the kidney beans and set aside the juice.
- Add noodles, beans, tomato, onion, olives, and drained beans to a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the bean juice, olive juice, apple cider vinegar, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil. See notes below if you want a mild tasting pasta. Adjust the olive juice and apple cider vinegar as desired for more salt or tang.
- Add the dressing into the pasta and combine together. Serve cold!
2 tablespoon bean juice
2 tablespoon olive juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper (or leave out)
2 teaspoon olive oil