This is the Low Fat Pasta Salad recipe that you won’t feel like you had to sacrifice flavor for calories.
As the title suggests I wanted to create a healthy low-fat pasta salad that actually tastes good.
I’m happy to report that I’ve done just that! Loaded with different textures and flavors combined with a tasty creamy dressing to bring it all together
If you are looking for more tasty side dishes for this grilling season checkout BBQ Grilled Spaghetti Squash Rings, BBQ Corn Ribs with Smokehouse Mayo, and Corn & Avocado Summer SaladJump to Recipe
How to Make Perfect Low Fat Pasta Salad
There are a few simple things that you can do to make sure you have perfectly cooked pasta every time. The first step is making sure that the water is salted.
Salting the water infuses an extra layer of flavor to your pasta making sure that every component of the pasta salad is seasoned. The water should taste like the ocean. I normally go with a tablespoon of salt per quart.
Once the salted water has reached a rolling boil add your macaroni and stir immediately for about 30 seconds. As the pasta cooks, you should give it a stir every two minutes or so until it’s ready.
This will prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot as well as help the pasta cook evenly.
What Kind of Noodles are best for Pasta Salad
There are so many varieties of pasta shapes and sizes. Any type you have will die but I try to use pasta shapes that have ridges and twists to hold maximum dressing.
Small shells are great because the dressing tucks into the shells. Other varieties like a rotini, fusilli, cavatappi, Campanelle, and Penne are good pasta salad options to use.
Avoid smooth edges like plain elbow macaroni or smooth rigatoni if possible but it works if it’s all you have.
Other smaller options like orzo or Israeli couscous are nice because of their uniform size.
The Dressing For Low Fat Pasta Salad
To create any tasty pasta salad or any salad for that matter you need a great foundation. The dressing or sauce is the foundation that will provide flavor throughout the dish.
Replacing the heavy mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt still gives a creamy texture but with none of that fat and about 75% fewer calories. The secret is to use other ingredients with the nonfat yogurt to build up the flavor.
Fresh herbs, vinegar, and mustard help to fortify the flavor in the pasta salad along with different spices to round out the dressing.
The Veggies for Low Fat Pasta Salad
This is where you get to be creative. Make this healthy pasta salad your own by adding whatever veggies you love to the mix. Fresh is always best and organic local is even better.
If you don’t like onions skip them, if you love cucumber then load upon them. There’s no end to the possibilities so go wild with the veggies you enjoy and skip the ones you don’t.
I basically raid my fridge and pile up all the veggies I have on hand and just start slicing and chopping. Using a Japanese Mandolin to slice thin uniform vegetables like radishes, seedless cucumbers, carrots, and onions.
Ingredients For Low Fat Pasta Salad
- Small Shells
- Fresh Corn
- Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
- Garbanzo Beans
- Seedless Cucumbers
- Red Onion
- Black Olives
- Diced Bell Peppers
- Diced Celery
- Sliced Radishes
- Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- Dijon Mustard
- Dill Pickle Relish
- Sliced Chives
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fresh Chopped Parsley
- Fresh Dill
- Real Salt
- Black Pepper
- Smoked Paprika
Personally, I’m a big fan of olives so I added a can of drained black olives to the pasta salad. I’m also a fan of Garbanzo beans so a can of those was added as well.
You can add these or not depending on your taste. Adding a small amount of Parmesan cheese can add a lot of flavor with minimal fat to the pasta salad. Other optional ingredients that you may choose to add include:
- Dried Fruits
- Fresh Blueberries or Strawberries
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Sun dried Tomatoes
More Tasty Side Dishes
- Corn & Avocado Summer Salad
- Broccoli Rabe & Beef Heart w/ Orecchiette Pasta
- Sheet Pan Everything Cabbage
- BBQ Grilled Spaghetti Squash Rings
- Broccoli Salad w/ White BBQ Sauce
- Thai Veggie Salad
Low Fat Pasta Salad (that actually tastes good)
- 1 lb Small Shells
- 1 cup Fresh Corn
- 1 cup Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 cup Garbanzo Beans
- ¾ cup Seedless Cucumbers
- ½ cup Sliced Carrots
- ½ cup Sliced Red Onion
- ½ cup Sliced Black Olives
- ½ cup Diced Bell Peppers
- ½ cup Diced Celery
- ¼ cup Sliced Radishes
- ¾ cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
- ¼ cup Dill Pickle Relish
- ¼ cup Sliced Chives
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Fresh Chopped Parsley
- 1 tbsp Fresh Dill
- 1 tsp Real Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook shells for 8-12 minutes. Drain pasta and run under cold water until room temperature.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients together until fully combined.
- Prepare all of the veggies and herbs. Dice or chop so that all ingredients are of similar size. Drain and lightly rinse the beans and olives.
- In a large mixing bowl combine shells, veggies and other ingredients with the dressing so that the pasta salad is fully incorporated.
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