A quick and easy green goddess pasta salad with peas featuring a homemade creamy yogurt dressing! Fresh or frozen peas add a burst of sweetness while chickpeas lend a hearty protein.
Salads are sometimes a contentious topic in my household. Whether green, bean, or pasta salad, someone is usually unenthusiastic about it. (You can read more about the lack of green salad enthusiasts here.) In the case of pasta salad, I grew up extremely unenthusiastic because of my aversion to mayonnaise. Specifically, macaroni salad stuck together and was scooped with a giant ice cream scoop (if only the lovely cafeteria ladies would scoop me ice cream instead). I’ve gotten over the mayo thing (mostly) but a traditional macaroni salad doesn’t get me that excited about food. If you’re looking for another mayo-free recipe, check out this easy egg salad, this easy broccoli pasta salad, or this vegan potato salad.
Green Goddess Pasta Salad with Peas and Chickpeas
Since picnic season is right around the corner, I’ve been craving a nice pasta salad that I would actually want to eat. I have a history of swapping creamy salad dressing in recipes that call for mayonnaise (tuna salad, egg salad) so I figured I’d try it with pasta salad. Enter: Annie’s Green Goddess salad dressing. It’s similar to your classic buttermilk ranch dressing, but herbier and lighter and even more amazing. It made great pasta salad. If you made pasta salad with this dressing, you’d be good to go.
But, being an overachiever, I decided I wanted to make the green goddess dressing myself. And you know what? It wasn’t that hard! I looked at the ingredient list to figure out the flavor profile, and it was mostly taste testing from there. I love that you can make the dressing ahead of time. In fact, I recommend it! It helps the flavor of the herbs settle into themselves and create a delicious, tangy, aromatic zing that complements your pasta.
In this recipe for green goddess dressing, I’ve used the following fresh herbs:
- green onion
If you’ve never had tarragon, it has a slight anise flavor that’s mildly sweet. It brings a light freshness to the dressing that’s really nice with the bite of the garlic, green onion, and chives. Throw in some earthy dill and you’ve got yourself a winner. The pasta salad is finished with some peas. Frozen peas are available year round, which is awesome for this recipe. But if you can get fresh English peas, they’re totally worth shelling out for this pasta salad.
How to Make Green Goddess Pasta Salad with Peas – Step by Step
This green goddess pasta salad is easy peasy! (Pun totally intended.) As I mentioned, I’ve made it with store bought dressing with excellent results. Or, you can make your own dressing following this recipe (I’ve even got a fun stop motion video to show you how)!
First, you’ll cook the pasta according to package instructions (photo 1). You can use whatever shape of pasta you prefer, depending on what you have on hand in your pantry. Whole wheat, durum semolina, gluten-free or homemade are all great choices.
Next, you’ll add fresh peas or thawed frozen peas (photo 2). In spring, fresh peas make an excellent addition. You could also try this pasta salad with sliced snow peas or snap peas if you don’t have English peas.
Third, add cooked chickpeas to your pasta salad bowl (photo 3). I like to make chickpeas from scratch. They are more economical, they taste better, and it’s pretty straightforward to cook chickpeas in under an hour on the stove top.
Finally, add your store bought or homemade green goddess dressing (photo 4). Once you have all your ingredients in your bowl, mix it all together. Be sure you season to taste with any salt, pepper, extra lemon juice or zest, or a bit more dressing to your liking. Assessing “to taste” is my favorite part of cooking. It’s an important step because no peas, pasta, chickpeas, or dressing taste exactly alike.
This green goddess pasta salad with peas is perfect to make ahead to enjoy on a picnic or hike this summer. I hope you try it!
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Green Goddess Pasta Salad with Peas
- 1 pound pasta
- 16 ounces peas fresh or frozen
- 1 cup green goddess dressing
- 2 cans (14.5-ounces) chickpeas drained and rinsed (about 4 cups)
Cook pasta according to directions. When pasta is fully cooked but still firm, rinse with cold water to reduce sticking.
Combine cooked pasta, peas, and chickpeas in a large bowl. Pour in dressing and stir to combine. Serve immediately or chill 1 hour before serving.
I love making this green goddess pasta salad ahead of time. It soaks into the pasta and provides great flavor! If you are making it ahead of time, be sure to cook the pasta to a firm al dente, or even barely under cooked. That way the pasta will stay firm and springy even when the dressing soaks in.
Omit the cheese, and sprinkle on nutritional yeast if desired. Instead of yogurt, make a cashew based dressing instead. Soak 1/2 cup of raw cashew pieces for 2 hours to overnight. Then combine with 1/2 cup of water and puree in a high speed blender with the garlic, garlic powder, mustard, lemon juice, green onion, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Transfer to a separate bowl and stir in herbs.
Substitute your favorite gluten free pasta or use rice noodles for this pasta salad.
While the chickpeas and other ingredients provide ample protein for this meal, you could add leftover shredded chicken, cubed ham or turkey to this pasta salad.
Check the Fridge
You can add frozen corn, sliced radishes, or grated carrots to this recipe to increase the variety of vegetables. I also like serving this with small pasta like penne or small shells.