The season of pasta salad is here! This picnic or barbeque staple is always a favorite, but it’s not always the healthiest choice.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way! While many traditional pasta salad recipes have mayonnaise-based dressings and are loaded with bacon and cheese, we’ve lightened things up by packing in the veggies and using healthier dressing options.
Here are eight pasta salad recipes that are healthy, delicious, and best of all, easy to whip up!
1. Creamy Pasta Salad >
Traditional creamy pasta salads are usually full of fat because of heavy dollops of mayonnaise. But our version uses only a teaspoon of light mayonnaise and instead uses nonfat Greek yogurt for its creaminess. Chopped broccoli, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes add color, crunch and antioxidant power to this delicious Creamy Pasta Salad.
2. Simple Spring Green Pasta Salad >
This Simple Spring Green Pasta Salad is all about the greens—green peas, asparagus tips and watercress add some fresh flavor and color. Dressed with a lemon vinaigrette, it’s also got just the right amount of zest. While we suggest using whole wheat rotini pasta as the base, you can choose your favorite shape. Then top it all off with some shaved parmesan cheese for the finishing touch.
3. Tuna and Avocado Pasta Salad >
Creamy avocado and protein-packed tuna come together in this one-of-a-kind Tuna and Avocado Pasta Salad that will have everyone asking for the recipe. Here’s the secret to whipping it up quickly: You’ll use a package of our already-made Nutrisystem Classic Tuna Salad. Then simply add a half-cup of cooked whole wheat pasta, chopped cucumbers, sliced red onion and a quarter of a chopped avocado. Finally, season with cilantro and black pepper. It’s that easy!
4. Zucchini and Sweet Corn Pasta Salad >
This Zucchini and Sweet Corn Pasta Salad is full of fresh and delicious chopped zucchini and corn. It also has creamy ricotta and parmesan cheeses for even more flavorful goodness. If you’re looking to get a bigger dose of daily veggies, chopped tomatoes and bell peppers always make a nice addition. This can be served hot right after sautéing the veggies and cooking the pasta, or chilled like a traditional pasta salad.
5. Fall Pasta Salad >
Although we’ve called this recipe Fall Pasta Salad, because it includes veggies at their peak during fall harvest, you can make this delicious dish any time of the year. It features cubed and roasted sweet potato, an ingredient that you don’t often see in pasta salads but that adds a nice boost of antioxidants and sweet flavor factor. It also has dried cranberries, roasted turkey breast, cheese, red onion, chopped broccoli, and, of course, some whole wheat pasta. It’s filling and delicious—and only 214 calories per serving.
6. Greek Orzo Summer Salad >
This Greek Orzo Pasta Salad has all of the flavors and ingredients of a Greek salad, but with delicious whole wheat orzo as its base. Diced cucumbers, red onions and red bell peppers add lots of crunch, while crumbles of feta cheese brings in that tangy and slightly salty flavor to the mix. It’s dressed with a light lemon and olive oil dressing to finish it off.
7. Ramen Noodle Asian Salad >
Try a fun spin on a traditional pasta salad by using ramen noodles at the base. This Ramen Noodle Asian Salad recipe also mixes in shredded carrots, vitamin-rich bok choy, scallions and sliced almonds and is dressed in an Asian vinaigrette featuring brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar. To turn this side dish into a meal, consider adding some cooked chicken or steak on top!
8. Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad >
In this Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad recipe, you’ll use your veggie spiralizer to create sweet potato spirals that take the place of traditional pasta. Mix in some corn, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, jalapeno and red onion for a veggie-packed salad that won’t disappoint. A creamy dressing comes together with nonfat Greek yogurt and a variety of herbs and spices. It’s sure to be a favorite for everyone.
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