I have been craving a lot of cold, fresh food these days to beat the heat, so I couldn’t wait to share this healthy recipe with you!
I cringe when I think about the pasta salads I used to buy.
Back in the day, I actually believed a box of Suddenly Salad was a healthy option because you “cook” it at home and assemble it yourself. Now I see that it is made with refined wheat flour pasta and risky additives like MSG, sodium phosphate, and caramel color. This is even worse than most salads found in a supermarket deli.
What’s in those pre-made containers of pasta salad?
I have yet to find a pre-made pasta salad that is made with healthy ingredients. They use refined flour pasta and unhealthy oils like soybean oil. I avoid soybean oil as much as possible because it is too high in omega-6 fatty acids, which increases the risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Also, if it’s not organic, the oil is refined with the neurotoxin hexane – and I don’t want that in my food.
My homemade pasta salad starts with the best ingredients and packs in the veggies!
But before you get started making this recipe, it’s very important that you choose healthy pasta.
Cooking starts with the ingredients. What you use to make any meal is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And dare I say, it’s the only thing you should really concern yourself with when it comes down to how you decide to eat.
Here’s how to choose the healthiest pasta for your pasta salad:
1. Choose pasta made without refined wheat flour. Most store-bought pasta is made from refined wheat flour that has been chemically bleached and completely stripped of its nutrients. It is then “enriched” with added vitamins from synthetic sources. The consumption of refined flour increases inflammation in the body and can disrupt the good intestinal bacteria in your digestive system. Most wheat grown today has been hybridized and damaged nutritionally during processing, so it really is “dead food”.
My favorite type of pasta to use is lentil pasta made from 100% organic lentils. This is a healthy alternative to traditional pasta that is very high in protein and fiber, so it helps keep you feeling full longer. It’s easy to digest, and great for people who cannot eat gluten or wheat. I also sometimes like to buy 100% whole wheat pasta, but only if it is organic. It’s best to choose einkorn wheat (an ancient grain) because it hasn’t been hybridized over time and is more nutrient dense than the wheat that is produced today.
2. Choose organic pasta. Wheat is commonly contaminated with the herbicide Roundup, so it’s important to always choose certified organic pasta to avoid ingredients that contain synthetic chemical residues.
My favorite organic pasta brands:
- Lentil Pasta (various kinds – elbow, rotini, penne, shells) – Tolerant, Chickapea
- Sprouted Grain Pasta – Food for Life
- Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles – Bionature
- Einkorn Whole Wheat Pasta – Jovial
After I mix this salad together, I like to let it chill for awhile to really let the flavors marinate together. This pasta salad is delicious and 100% nutritious!
- 6 ounces lentil pasta, cooked according to package instructions
- 1 small zucchini, sliced thin and halved
- 1⁄2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1⁄4 cup diced red onion
- 3 to 4 radishes, sliced thin
- handful parsley, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon raw honey, more as desired
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Place all of the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all of the ingredients.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta salad and mix to combine. Let sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes to marinate.
If you know anyone who could use a pasta salad makeover, please share this recipe with them!