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Pasta Salad Reinvented

Today is Memorial Day, the unofficial kick off to summer.  The season means lots of backyard barbeques, picnics, and pool parties.  One of the most popular side dishes at all these gatherings is pasta salad.  The traditional recipe typically involves a mayonnaise base, which adds calories.  I’m always wary of serving any mayo-based dishes outside since they can go bad easily.  I prefer to stick with an oil and vinegar base.  For this week’s blog I’ve gathered some pasta salad recipes that are lighter and include lots of healthy ingredients.

 

Orzo Pasta Salad has Greek influences.  You’ll need to cook fresh broccoli flowerets and set them aside.  Cook your orzo pasta and drain.  In a bowl combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add orzo, broccoli, chopped red bell pepper, chopped red onion, chopped parsley, and chickpeas to the dressing.  Toss to coat well and serve.

 

Orzo-Pasta-Salad-1
Courtesy of Girl Gone Gourmet

 

Lemony Artichoke Pasta Salad is another light summer side dish you’ll love.  Start by cooking gemelli pasta, drain, and set aside.  In a large pan, heat olive oil and saute chopped asparagus for 3 minutes.  Add in chopped garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  In a large bowl combine the pasta, the asparagus, chopped artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  Drizzle with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, finely chopped basil leaves, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Toss to combine and sprinkle with a little more parmesan if desired.

 

lemony artichoke pasta salad
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

 

Strawberry Mozzarella Chicken Pasta Salad is one of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters featured Heathy Plate recipes.  The salad includes whole wheat penne pasta, cooked, chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, fresh spinach, fresh strawberries, and fresh basil.  The dressing is made by combining white grape juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the chicken, strawberries, mozzarella, and basil.  Serve on spinach.

 

Strawberry_Mozzarella_Chicken_Pasta_Salad_500
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

Check back next week for some summertime grilling recipes.

 

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