Before you take a look at some delicious healthy pasta salad recipes like the Waldorf salad let's learn more about pasta, a staple of Italian cuisine which has captured hearts all across the globe. Pasta is a type of food that is made from wheat, buckwheat, or other types of flour and water. Some additional products like eggs and spices are also added to get different textures and tastes. The dough is kneaded into a solid mass that has no air pockets. After the dough is rolled out, it is cut into different shapes using presses or moulds. The pasta is then used to make different healthy pasta salads which are delicious and filling.
Origin of Pasta
Experts in the industry believe that the Chinese used to make noodle-like food as long back as 3000 B.C. An Etruscan tomb that dates back to the 4th century B.C. also shows a group of natives making something that looks like pasta. According to popular legends, Marco Polo is responsible for introducing pasta to Italy after his expeditions to the Far East in the 13th century. With time, pasta soon appeared in the New World through the English. It was the Colonists who introduced the art of cooking pasta for thirty minutes and covering it with cheese and cream sauce. In 1789, then U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson brought the first macaroni machine to America, making pasta even more popular. With healthy pasta salad recipes and Pasta Arrabbiata Chicken getting more and more popular, pasta factories soon started opening up all over the globe. Today easy healthy pasta salad and healthy macaroni salad recipes are a family favourite with pasta coming in different shapes and sizes.
Interesting Pasta Facts
Not only is pasta delicious and easy to make, but there are also several interesting facts about this versatile ingredient:
- There are over six hundred types of pasta with over 1300 different names.
- The most popular pasta types are macaroni, spaghetti, and penne.
- Dried pasta will double in size when it is cooked.
- Ancient Romans used to eat their pasta fried.
- Uncooked dry pasta can be stored for up to a year.
- There are hundreds of different healthy pasta salad recipes.
- Pasta can be fed to dogs and cats to help with their growth and also to keep their coats healthy and glossy.
- According to Greek mythology, Vulcan, one of the Greek Gods, invented the earliest version of a pasta maker.
- National Pasta Month is celebrated every October.
Nutritional Value of Pasta
Pasta comes in different forms and sizes. The nutritional value of the pasta you have on hand depends on the type of flour used to make it. The quantity of glutens, as well as the composition of wheat protein, has an important role in the quality of pasta. Interestingly, pasta has very low-fat content, making it a great ingredient for healthy recipes. You can find several healthy pasta salad recipes on the internet. Let's take a look at the nutrients present in 100 grams of pasta:
- Fat: 2 grams
- Carbohydrates: 74.2 grams
- Proteins: 11 grams
Additionally, pasta also consists of A, E, and B vitamins as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Different Types of Pasta
As mentioned, earlier, there are over six hundred types of pasta. Let's take a look at some of the more commonly used pasta for healthy pasta salads:
- Angel Hair or Capellini Dangelo
- Elbow macaroni
- Farfalle (bow ties)
- Fusilli or rotini
- Jumbo shells
- Reginette or Mafaldine
The pasta that you are using will have a say in which recipe you can try. Some pasta is ideal for healthy pasta salads, while some can be stuffed, and some are great for soups.
Quick & Simple Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes
- Healthy Macaroni Salad
This is a very easy healthy pasta salad. Cook one cup of elbow macaroni in 2 cups of water with a teaspoon of salt. When the macaroni is cooked, drain it and let it chill after adding one teaspoon of lemon juice to it. In a large bowl, mix two hard-boiled eggs (diced), ½ cup cheese (diced), ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup carrot (grated), ½ cup celery (diced), and ½ cucumber (diced). Mix this well and add the chilled macaroni to this. You can serve this chilled healthy macaroni salad for any meal of the day.
- Healthy Chicken pasta Salad
Cook 200 grams of penne or fusilli pasta and allow it to drain. In another pan, roast 150 grams of chicken that has been marinated with a dash of salt and pepper. In a large mixing bowl add 10 quartered cherry tomatoes, 4 tbsp. chopped basil, ½ red capsicum (chopped), ½ green capsicum (chopped), 4 tbsp. mayonnaise, 30 grams chopped spinach, 60 grams diced feta, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, ½ cucumber (diced), and 4 sliced spring onions.Add the pasta and roasted chicken along with a pinch of sea salt and a dash of black pepper and mix well. This healthy chicken pasta salad is delicious and filling.
- Low Fat Pasta Salad
Cook 200 grams of pasta and allow it to drain. Chop 1 cup of small olives, one medium cucumber, 2 medium tomatoes, one cup chopped cauliflower, 1 medium green capsicum, and 1 medium red capsicum. Mix this well and add ½ cup crumbled feta cheese, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt to taste, and half a teaspoon of black pepper to it. Add pasta to this and let it chill for two to four hours. Serve this low fat pasta salad cold.
- Healthy creamy pasta salad
Cook 200 grams of fusilli or gemili and allow it to drain. Prepare the dressing by mixing ½ cup Greek yoghurt, ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, salt to taste, ½ tsp. black pepper and ½ tsp. garlic powder in a small bowl. Whisk till it is smooth. To another bowl add the cooked pasta, ½ cup finely chopped celery, ½ cup finely chopped red onion, ½ cup sliced black olives, and 3 tbsp. chopped fresh dill and toss to combine. Pour the dressing over this and serve this healthy creamy pasta salad immediately.
- Pasta Paneer Salad
Toss together three cups cooked pasta, one cup steamed carrots, ½ cup mixed beans, 1 cup sliced cucumbers, ½ cup sliced olives and ½ cup cubed paneer. Prepare the dressing by whisking together ½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, salt, and 1 tbsp. finely chopped coriander. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve this best healthy pasta salad recipes immediately.
- Green bean salad
Cook 150 grams of pasta and allow it to drain. In another pot blanch 1 cup of green beans. In another bowl mix together, ½ cup chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, ¾ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper. Add the cooked pasta and blanched beans to this and mix well. This is one of the best healthy pasta salad recipes.
Cook 200 grams of chicken in a large skillet till it starts to brown. Then add one large chopped onion to it and saut till it softens. Then add ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes and 6 minced garlic cloves and saut for 30 seconds. Then add 1 cup red wine, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 3 fresh basil leaves, 2 cups of uncooked penne, salt to taste, and 2 cups marinara sauce. Allow this to simmer for 20 minutes. Serve this warm garnished with parmesan cheese.