Our Baby Kale and Basil Pesto is the foundation of this Mason Jar Super Salad that’s packed with spinach, chickpeas, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and red lentil penne. This nutrient powerhouse is the lunchtime boost you need to get through whatever ridiculousness the afternoon may bring, and it will be the envy of all who behold it in the breakroom fridge. Ready in under half an hour, this recipe makes four complete salads.Print
- 4 packed cups baby spinach (one 5-ounce container)
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 large English cucumber
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cooked red lentil penne (we used Barilla, about half a box dry)
- 1/2 cup Baby Kale and Basil Pesto
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3/4 tsp Italian Seasoning, divided
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Place a pot of water with a pinch of salt over high heat and bring to a boil, then prepare half of an 8.8-ounce box of Barilla Red Lentil Penne according to package instructions. Once preferred firmness is reached (7-8 min), strain the pasta and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain and return to the pot. Add a teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning and toss to coat.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of the oil. Add the chickpeas, salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Toss and cook one minute, then toss and cook one more minute. Transfer to a dinner plate to cool.
- To the same sauté pan, add the remaining teaspoon of oil, then add the spinach and toss. Remove from heat, cover, and allow the spinach to wilt. Flip after a minute to ensure even cooking. Once fully wilted, transfer to a large dinner plate to cool.
- Set up four (pint/16-ounce) mason jars with lids and add 2 tablespoons of pesto sauce to each jar. Divide the cooled chickpeas between the jars. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and divide between the jars (three tomatoes per jar). Cut the cucumber into four even sections crosswise, then quarter lengthwise and chop. Add one chopped cucumber section to each jar. Chop the bell pepper, divide into four equal piles, and distribute between the jars. Divide the cooled spinach evenly between the jars and top off with the prepared pasta (about 1/2 cup per jar). The jars should be completely full.
Refrigerate until ready to eat, up to four days. Shake vigorously to distribute the sauce throughout the jar, then empty into a bowl and enjoy.
Nutrition Estimate Per Serving (1 SALAD, 1/4 RECIPE) – Calories: 342, Fat: 12.2g, Saturated Fat: .8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6.6g, Cholesterol: 0g, Sodium: 340mg, Potassium: 898mg, Carbohydrates: 43.9g total/35g net, Fiber: 8.9 Sugar: 5.4, Protein: 17, Vitamin A: 55%, Vitamin C: 133%, Calcium: 19%, Iron: 19% (based on 2,000 calorie diet).
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: Salads
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Plant-Based
- Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: PESTO, RED LENTIL PASTA, VEGAN, SPINACH, CHICKPEAS, PLANT-BASED, KALE, BASIL, DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, VEGETARIAN, GRAIN-FREE, PLANT-BASED PROTEIN, MASON JAR SALAD, MEAL PREP, QUICK LUNCHES, MAKE AHEAD MEALS