Some of my recipes circle around in my mind for a while before I actually get around to making and testing them out. This healthy super greens pasta salad, however, took practically no time at all to happen in my kitchen!
This past weekend, my husband’s mom visited us and we took her to as many food and coffee stops as we could. Sunday morning, we walked along Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach (see my local’s guide to Abbot Kinney). We got Intelligentsia coffee and window shopped up and down the street, including a fun stop in this beach-inspired home decor shop.
We enjoyed lunch at Lemonade, which is a fun stop for all LA natives and visitors. It’s a super cute and very delicious cafeteria-esque restaurant with tons of tasty, foodie options.
They have a huge selection of salads packed with fruits, veggies, grains, and meat with all kinds of flavors. It’s such a long way from the traditional mayonnaise-based potato salads and coleslaws – much more to my liking. I want to recreate some of their seasonal salads at home, starting with this healthy pasta salad packed with superfoods.
Healthy Pasta Salad
This healthy pasta salad is just as much salad as it is pasta. So it’s basically a much lighter alternative to traditional pasta salad. One of the best ways I manage to stay healthy since losing all that weight (read my weight loss story here) is to make familiar dishes with some healthy swaps. Instead of a lot of the carbs or cheese, I substitute much of it with veggies.
This healthy pasta salad does just that. There’s still pasta, but much less than normal. Instead it has tons of veggies and protein with loads of flavor. It’s a quick one-pot recipe you can enjoy warm or cold, which is especially appealing.
I usually eat this kind of dish for lunch with a poached or fried egg on top (and maybe some hot sauce). It transports easily too, so it’s a great make-ahead lunch. You can get more salad recipes here.
What Veggies Can You Use in Pasta Salad?
Honestly, you could roast or sautee any veggies you wanted for this. I wanted to keep it simple and all in one pot – who has time for dishes? That meant adding edamame and peas (both frozen) and the spinach.
The spinach cooks down in the steamy pasta water and the edamame and peas heat up as well.
You’ll basically cook the pasta like normal but add a little extra time to warm up the veggies and make up for the shock of cold in the boiling water for the pasta.
What Pasta Type?
Any pasta variety that is short will work well. I like orzo because you can really get a lot of vegetables mixed in with small bites of pasta. A rigatoni, elbow, penne, and shells would also be good.
Of course you can do it with ANY kind of pasta – even long noodles like spaghetti or linguine. I think portion control is easier with this small size, however!
Want some other good pasta recipes? This lemon tuna pasta is easy, inexpensive and delicious! Simpler versions (great as a side dish too) are peas and pasta and this one pot summer veggie pasta is a mandatory one in our house. On the lighter side, this fresh cherry tomato pasta with ricotta is divine and this roasted vegetable + goat cheese pasta is heartier than you’d ever expect from a veggie-based meal!
SUPER GREENS HEALTHY PASTA SALAD
I love the idea of pasta salad, but dislike how unhealthy it can be. This pasta salad is loading with super greens, some plant-based protein, and a ton of delicious for a pasta salad everyone loves and that doesn't make you feel guilty.
- ⅔ Cup uncooked orzo
- ¾ Cup frozen shelled edamame
- ½ Cup frozen peas
- 1 ½ Cups finely chopped kale
- 1-15.5 oz. can chickpeas drained
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon each salt + pepper plus more to taste
- chili flakes optional
Remove frozen shelled edamame and peas from freezer.
Follow instructions to cook orzo. With two minutes remaining during boiling, add edamame, peas, and kale. Cook remaining time.
Drain pasta and greens, quickly returning to pot.
Add chick peas, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Enjoy warm or cold.
Serve with chili flakes if desired.