Weekly Meal Prep on a Budget: Pesto Pasta Salad with Chickpeas

A classic combo packed with veggie-based proteins and vitamins!

Milada Vigerova via Unsplash

I want to prove that it is not difficult to eat healthy food while on a tight budget. I’ll be sharing weekly recipes that are both friendly to your wallet and to your health. At the end of the grocery list, I’ll share how much I paid for each of the food items. Pantry staple items like olive oil, salt/pepper/rice are not included in the cost. This is another step that I’m taking to be financially conscious while not sacrificing my health.

This “salad” keeps well in the fridge, and is delicious when served cold or at room temperature. A word of caution: this tastes so good that you’ll likely to have more than one bowl. Be careful when you’re doing this — chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, but also contain hard-to-digest sugars called oligosaccharides, which can result in digestive issues (stomach ache, gas, the whole fun shebang). You can easily prevent this by only including half the can of garbanzo beans…or not eating more than one serving at a time (if you can resist).

I paired this with a delicious and easy-to-drink Italian wine from Trader Joe’s — medium-bodied and on the sweeter side for bold reds: Nero Grande Appassite!

Grocery List:

  • Fusilli Pasta — $2.00
  • Pesto — $7.99 (I highly recommend the Kirkland Signature Pesto from Costco. It comes in a huge 22-oz jar, so I freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays to save for future recipes. A good alternative is Trader Joe’s Vegan Pesto).
  • Cherry Tomatoes — $3.50
  • Arugula — $1.99
  • Canned Garbanzo Beans (15 oz) — $1.00
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional) — $0.00
  • Total Budget: $16.50, $3.30 per Serving

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Prep Method:

  1. Boil 1.5 cups of dry fusilli pasta (this should yield ~3x the recommended serving size) with a pinch of salt. I like my pasta al dente, and 9 minutes was the perfect time. Rinse cooked pasta with cold water to stop cooking.
  2. Drain garbanzo beans and rinse with cold water until water runs clear.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, a couple of handfuls of arugula, garbanzo beans, and 5 tablespoons of pesto.
  4. Serve immediately, garnish with parmesan cheese if desired! Refrigerate the leftovers and serve cold or room temp.

Here’s my salad!

Did you try this recipe? Let me know how it went!

Life philosophies: ambition, diligence, and selflessness. Daughter, immigrant, and consultant dedicated to becoming her personal best, while elevating others.

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