Recipe: Fresh Mediterranean Whole Wheat Pasta Salad
Summary: This colorful Mediterranean pasta salad takes advantage of the seasonal bounty of wholesome, nourishing ingredients, including vine-ripened tomatoes, antioxidant-rich sweet peppers, and tender spinach leaves. With minimal cooking and preparation time, this light and hearty salad can be served warm or cold, and is ideal for a potluck, picnic, or impromptu gathering of friends.
- 1 cup whole wheat pasta
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1 cup roma or vine-ripened tomato, diced
- 1 cup orange and yellow sweet peppers, diced
- ¼ cup toasted Mediterranean pine nuts
- 1 T garlic
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- Optional: balsamic for sweeter pasta salad, avocado oil to add richness
- Bring lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente or according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, chop tomatoes and peppers, halve the pitted olives, and remove the stems from the spinach leaves. Combine the vegetables in a large bowl. Carefully drain the pasta and pour over the vegetables while still warm to allow the spinach to wilt slightly.
- Using a small skillet, lightly toast pine nuts until golden brown, being careful not to burn them. Add garlic, olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper to taste, and lightly toss.
- If a sweeter pasta salad is preferred, add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- To add richness to the pasta salad, drizzle with avocado oil. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate. Top with toasted pine nuts before serving.
Carbs x serving: 27g
Benefits of foods and notes:
The Mediterranean Pasta Salad combines the dietary benefits of whole grain pasta with copious amounts of seasonal, colorful vegetables.
A diet rich in colorful vegetables has long been championed for providing vitamins and antioxidants. The addition of pine nuts adds texture to the dish along with protein and dietary fiber.
Kalamata olives are an excellent source of “good,” or monounsaturated, fat. Olive oil, too, contains healthy fats as well as antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory polyphenols.
Garlic provides allicin, considered a premiere antioxidant for trapping harmful free radicals. Together, these ingredients deliver a culinary experience that is as flavorful as it is healthy.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced fat
Number of servings (yield): 6
Culinary tradition: Italian
Published: July 6,2012