Monday's Meal - Healthy Pasta Salad

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don't you love pasta salad in the summer? For some reason, I was never a fan of cold pasta - but the past couple of years, I've really grown to like it a lot. Problem is, most pasta salads don't really fit the dietary guidelines the dietitian & lipid specialist have set for me.

Fortunately, I found a recipe in the Women's Health Today publication that comes in the mail. I'm not sure where it comes from, but I think that either my gynecologist's office or the hospital where I have my mammograms done sends it to all of their patients. There is a website, too, if you're interested:

Cold Fusilli Pasta w/ Summer Vegetables
8 oz. whole wheat fusilli
2 c. cherry tomatoes, rinsed & halved
1 lg. green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 c. red onion, thinly sliced
1 med. zucchini, shredded finely
1 15 oz. can low-sodium chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 TBSP. fresh basil, cut into thin strips (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 TBSP. extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions, then rinse to cool. Place vegetables and beans in a large serving bowl. Season with basil, salt, and pepper. Add pasta. Combine oil & vinegar, then pour over contents of bowl. Mix until well coated. Divide into four equal portions. Top each with 2 TBSP. shredded Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Per serving: 418 calories, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 455mg sodium, 63g carbs, 13g fiber. 21g protein.

(Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.)

My notes: Of course, I made some changes. :-)
I thought I had whole grain fusilli, but apparently I used it - so I substituted whole grain penne. I don't care for onion or raw zucchini, so I left those out & added a red bell pepper instead. I also used grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes (not a huge difference, LOL).

I thought it was pretty good. Was it as good as the pasta salad my neighbor makes? Well, no. But this one isn't loaded with mayonnaise & cheese either, so it's a lot healthier. 

The serving size listed is HUGE. According to my dietitian, a serving of pasta (for me) is a half cup. The serving size according to this recipe is about 2 cups. So by just eating 1/2 cup, I cut the calories, etc. down to: 105 calories, 3g fat, 0.7g saturated fat, 2.5mg cholesterol, 114mg sodium, 16g carbs, 3g fiber, 5g protein.