How to Build a Healthy Pasta Salad (with stuff you already have in your fridge)

What was your favorite food when you were a kid?

Mine was bread and butter, preferably in the form of a crusty Italian loaf or a pillowy Mexican bolillo. These were rare treats, since my mom tended to stock only sliced wheat loaves and margarine.

I was a carb lover from the get go and I guess you could say that I still am. I developed a wheat allergy a few years back, but that hasn’t stopped me from my starch affair.

On carby dish I never really cared for was pasta salad. Too much mayo, slimy elbow noodles slipping into mushy carrot cubes. Gummy. And never enough of the actual “salad” part, ya know? Whenever I went to a BBQ, I stupidly always brought dessert as my contribution. Back when I was vegetarian-not-vegan, that meant that I got stuck eating the pasta salad and then whatever dessert I’d brought. Now I’ve wised up (barely) and started bringing a veggie entree in addition to dessert.

Building a healthy, shareable pasta salad is easy, and you probably have a lot of the stuff in your fridge already. Even if they’re not the exact ingredients that I include in this particular salad. You can use a variety of fruits, veggies, and nuts.

There are four loose rules to remember:

  • make it colorful
  • make it varied in flavor and texture
  • make sure the “salad” part is at least 60% and the “pasta” part is no more than 40%. I think this salad is closer to 75-25, but you get the idea
  • make sure you keep the dressing healthy as well.


For this salad, I used:

  • 2 grapefruits, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium beets, spiralized into thin noodles
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 1/2 avocados
  • 6 cups of kale, not packed. I measure the kale and then wilt it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. It reduces in volume and makes it much easier to eat.
  • 1 tablespoon of pepitas
  • 3 tablespoons of almonds
  • 1/4 cup of kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
  • 12 oz box of prepared gluten free rotini (I like Ronzoni)

Then I just tossed it all up like you’d do with any salad and I was done. It made 4 huge, healthy servings. For the dressing, I thinned out about 1/4 cup hummus with about 1/2 cup lemon juice. A drop of maple syrup and a pinch of salt. That was it! Here are some other good healthy dressing recipes:  creamy cranberry sesame, creamy turmeric dressing,  creamy poppy seed, tangy strawberry. They’re all vegan, and other then the cranberry sesame, all low fat. And all delicious, obs.

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2 thoughts on “How to Build a Healthy Pasta Salad (with stuff you already have in your fridge)

  1. Favourite food as a kid? That’s a tough one. I remember enjoy spaghetti o’s with cheddar cheese melted in it and, of course, mac n cheese. My tastes have definitely changed now that I’m older, but I’ve always loved carbs! This salad looks so bright, fresh and colourful! Great way to use up stuff that you have on hand 🙂

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