Sometimes healthy eating means making a few small adjustments to your favorite recipes so you can still enjoy them. Take pasta salad, for example. Whether you are watching your carb intake, trying to eat a more plant-based diet or avoiding dairy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to give up this picnic staple.
For this pasta salad recipe, we rely on fresh spring vegetables to provide color, texture and flavor, and we modify the ratio of veggies to noodles, which would usually make up the bulk of the dish. We also cut out some of the usual suspects that can add fat and calories to pasta salad (cheese and mayo-based dressing, for example) and instead toss everything with a simple, delicious vinaigrette.
Whether you make it as a side dish for a backyard barbecue or as a main course for a meatless weeknight dinner, this vegan-friendly recipe is loaded with vitamins and nutrients and will not disappoint on flavor.
Spring Veggie Pasta Salad
Yield: 8 servings
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil, divided
2 cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces whole-wheat bow tie pasta
6-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small zucchini
1 cup arugula
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
In a medium-sized bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil. Add the cherry tomato halves and toss.
Bring 2 pots of water to a boil. Add the pasta to one pot and follow the cooking directions on the package, omitting any added salt. Be careful to not overcook the pasta. When the pasta is finished, rinse it in cold water and allow to drain
thoroughly. In the other pot add the asparagus to the boiling water. Remove after 2-3 minutes and then rinse thoroughly in cold water.
Use a vegetable peeler to make “ribbons” of zucchini. Turn the zucchini while peeling and be careful not to reach the seeds. In a large bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, peas, asparagus, zucchini, arugula, tomato halves, pasta, remaining basil and parsley.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the vegetables and pasta. Gently toss and serve.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING: 204 Calories; 7 grams Fat; 1 gram Saturated Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 134 mg Sodium; 29 grams Carbohydrates; 4 grams Sugar; 3 grams Fiber; 7 grams Protein
Related Topic: Inflammation and Your Diet: What’s the Connection?
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