Cashew, Chickpea & Pasta Salad with Cilantro-Mint-Shallot Vinaigrette


In our humble opinion, the dressing makes this salad. Tangy and zesty with a bit of a crunch from the shallots, this cilantro-mint-shallot vinaigrette will quickly become your go-to. Make the dressing and chop up the veggies while you wait for the pasta to cook, then mix everything and enjoy!

a recipe photo of the Cashew, Chickpea & Avocado Salad with Coriander-Mint-Shallot Vinaigrette
Photo: Sara Haas
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

How we made this diabetes-appropriate

1. Most Americans don't get enough fiber. Fiber has a slew of health benefits including helping you lose weight, maintaining cardiovascular health and lowering the risk of certain cancers. (But wait! There's more! Read more about the benefits of fiber here.) If you're one of those people looking to boost your fiber intake, here's one meal to help you toward that goal. This salad is chock-full of fiber from the chickpeas and veggies, as well as from the lentil (or whole-grain) pasta.

2. Saturated fat is known to be a risk factor for heart disease if there is too much of it in your diet. Here we focused on healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat from extra-virgin olive oil and avocados, while limiting the saturated fat by skipping the meat and cheese in favor of a small amount of roasted cashews for texture and flavor.

3. We limited sodium by going easy on the salt and calling for no-salt-added canned chickpeas, as excess sodium intake can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Tips from the Test Kitchen

This dressing is so delicious! If I make a larger batch, how long does it keep for?

The dressing will keep for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. If it solidifies, set it out for 30 minutes at room temperature and shake it up prior to use.

I don't like cilantro; can I use another herb in the dressing?

Yes! Use parsley or a mix of your favorite fresh herbs—tarragon, oregano, basil, even chives!

Arugula is a bit too peppery for me; are there other greens I can use?

Absolutely. You can use the greens of your choice here—baby spinach, spring greens or baby bok choy leaves are all winners!

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can make the dressing and cook the pasta ahead of time. Because some ingredients like avocado and fresh herbs turn brown as they sit, it's best to assemble the salad and eat it right away.

I am allergic to cashews; is there a good substitute?

Roasted sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) would be great in this salad. Any other type of nut (as long as you're not allergic!) will work well too.

I'm sensitive to beans; is there another vegetarian protein source I could substitute?

Yes, you can use 1/2 cup of diced extra-firm tofu, pressed if desired.


  • 2 ounces lentil or whole-grain pasta, such as fusilli or penne

  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon warm water

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ tablespoons red-wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced

  • ¾ cup no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed

  • ½ medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • ½ medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • ½ large avocado, diced

  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

  • ½ cup arugula

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted roasted cashews, roughly chopped


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  2. Meanwhile, combine shallot, lemon juice, warm water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.

  3. Combine cilantro, mint, oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the shallot mixture, the cooled pasta, chickpeas, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, avocado, celery, arugula and cashews; toss to combine.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

518 Calories
29g Fat
49g Carbs
15g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Serving Size 2 cups
Calories 518
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 11g 39%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 15g 30%
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Vitamin A 1889IU 38%
Vitamin C 106mg 118%
Vitamin E 4mg 27%
Folate 96mcg 24%
Vitamin K 36mcg 30%
Sodium 689mg 30%
Calcium 125mg 10%
Iron 5mg 28%
Magnesium 97mg 23%
Potassium 1000mg 21%
Zinc 2mg 18%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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