Pasta salads go hand in hand with summer picnics, BBQ’s, and family reunions. These classic pasta recipes have great potential to be healthy whole grain side dishes, however, it’s the toppings and dressings we choose that often turn them into calorie-laden servings. So if you’re watching your waistline, or simply opting for a nutrient-dense whole foods diet, then you’re going to love the three incredibly simple pasta dishes below.
I like to use gluten-free variations of pasta such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat (soba), or corn pasta. Of course, you can use whole-wheat pasta, but I dare you to try one of these ancient grain pastas. Also, have fun with the shapes of the pasta, I like using penne or fusilli varieties because they do a great job at catching all the good bits and dressings.
This is a light and bright pasta salad perfect for sneaking in extra vegetables at the picnic table. The crunch of the seeds and creamy avocado mix perfectly with the crunchy veggies.
This pasta is essentially your traditional, calorie-laden Italian pasta turned vegan! Summery tomatoes and fresh basil make this dish light and delicious. Try adding in chicken, beans, tempeh or other forms of protein for a boost.
This pasta is equally delicious warm or cool and great for peanut lovers. It’s rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Try adding in tofu, chicken, or edamame for added protein.
McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN is the creator of Nutrition Stripped, a plant-based, whole foods and gluten-free food blog specializing in nourishing recipes and nutrition services. You can keep up with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
More on Pasta Salads…