Pasta Salad 5 Ways…5 Recipes for Healthier Pasta Salads!

Host the Toast

Host the Toast

Is this turning into a food blog?  Here’s the thing, so much of my life is consumed with cooking and feeding little mouths that sometimes that’s all I can think about!  Or is that an just an excuse for the fact that I love to eat?  A little of both, maybe : ) So, one of my current summer food obsessions is cold pasta salad.  It’s cheap, great for left overs and weekday lunches and is completely versatile depending on the ingredients.  What it’s not exactly great for – the waistline.  With that in mind, I’ve been in search of some cold pasta salad recipes that are both delicious and won’t require me to wear stretch pants simultaneously. Eating Well’s step by step guide to ‘Making a Healthier Pasta Salad’ along with 5 awesome recipes was the perfect solution!

Eating Well

Eating Well

#1.  Antipasti Pasta Salad

Eating Well

Eating Well

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Pasta Salad

  • 6 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) whole-wheat medium shells
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup quartered canned artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cubed salami
  • 5 tablespoons shredded Provolone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pepperoncini
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. To prepare dressing: Combine oil, broth, vinegar, marjoram, shallots, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well combined. (Or whisk in a bowl.)
  2. To prepare pasta salad: Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add fennel, bell pepper, artichoke hearts, beans, salami, cheese, pepperoncini, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate, without dressing, for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing about 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition

Per serving: 298 calories; 14 g fat ( 3 g sat , 9 g mono ); 11 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 11 g protein; 7 g fiber; 535 mg sodium; 269 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (64% daily value), Vitamin A (21% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch 1 vegetable, 1/2 high-fat meat, 2 fat

#2.  Broccoli & Feta Pasta Salad

Eating Well

Eating Well

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces (about 3 cups) whole-wheat fusilli
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 3/4 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. To prepare dressing: Mash garlic and salt in a medium bowl with the back of a spoon into a chunky paste. Add buttermilk, mayonnaise, oregano and vinegar; whisk until combined.
  2. To prepare pasta salad: Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add broccoli, tomatoes, chickpeas, feta, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate, without dressing, for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing about 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition

Per serving: 264 calories; 6 g fat ( 2 g sat , 1 g mono ); 14 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 11 g protein; 6 g fiber; 457 mg sodium; 367 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (42% daily value), Folate (20% dv), Vitamin A (19% dv), Magnesium (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 medium fat meat, 1/2 fat

#3.  Melon & Chicken Pasta Salad

Eating Well

Eating Well

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces (about 3 cups) whole-wheat bowtie pasta
  • 2 cups cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon
  • 2 cups thinly sliced baby spinach
  • 2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped prosciutto (about 3 ounces)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. To prepare dressing: Mash garlic and salt in a medium bowl with the back of a spoon into a chunky paste. Add buttermilk, mayonnaise, tarragon and vinegar; whisk until combined.
  2. To prepare pasta salad: Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add melon, spinach, chicken, cranberries, prosciutto, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate, without dressing, for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing about 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition

Per serving: 294 calories; 6 g fat ( 2 g sat , 1 g mono ); 54 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 3 g added sugars; 25 g protein; 4 g fiber; 633 mg sodium; 400 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (57% daily value), Vitamin C (38% dv), Magnesium (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 2 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 fat

#4.  Vegetable & Tuna Pasta Salad

Eating Well

Eating Well

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces (about 3 cups) whole-wheat fusilli
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup diced zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 2 5-ounce cans chunk light tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped soft sun-dried tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. To prepare dressing: Combine oil, broth, vinegar, basil, shallots, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well combined. (Or whisk in a bowl.)
  2. To prepare pasta salad: Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add arugula, zucchini, tuna, cheese, tomatoes, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate, without dressing, for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing about 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition

Per serving: 285 calories; 12 g fat ( 3 g sat , 8 g mono ); 15 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 17 g protein; 3 g fiber; 401 mg sodium; 354 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (15% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat

#5.  Peas & Ham Pasta Salad

Eating Well

Eating Well

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Pasta Salad

  • 10 ounces (about 2 cups) whole-wheat elbow noodles
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 3/4 cups peas, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs (see Tip), chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced Cheddar cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. To prepare dressing: Mash garlic and salt in a medium bowl with the back of a spoon into a chunky paste. Add buttermilk, mayonnaise, dill and vinegar; whisk until combined.
  2. To prepare pasta salad: Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add mushrooms, peas, ham, onion, eggs, cheese, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate, without dressing, for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing about 1 hour before serving.
  • Tip: To hard-boil eggs, place in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with 1 inch of water. Bring just to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, immediately pour out hot water and cover the eggs with ice-cold water. Let stand in the water until cool.

Nutrition

Per serving: 315 calories; 9 g fat ( 4 g sat , 3 g mono ); 88 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 21 g protein; 6 g fiber; 671 mg sodium; 379 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (36% daily value), Vitamin C (24% dv), Zinc (18% dv), Iron & Magnesium (16% dv), Folate (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1/2 medium fat meat, 1/2 high fat meat, 1/2 fat

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