When You See These Healthy, Satisfying Pasta Salads...

You will have to make them! Pasta salads are a great side dish or meal. I could easily eat a pasta salad for dinner by putting it on a layer of organic greens, such as baby spinach, kale or mixed greens. Pasta salads are very filling and nutritious when made with organic pasta.

healthy satisfying pasta salads for lunch or dinner

Plus, gluten free pastas have really come a long way. When I tried gluten free pasta years ago it didn't taste that good. Now you can find great tasting pasta made from quinoa, beans and even rice.


Gluten is a horrible ingredient that causes inflammation and has no nutritional value. While some people are diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or are allergic, it can be very difficult to say for sure if you have an issue with gluten. Did you know for every case of Celiac disease that’s diagnosed due to noticeable symptoms, another eight cases go undetected? (Source: Today's Dietitian)

Most people think if they have a gluten sensitivity that they will have gastrointestinal symptoms. However, not everyone will have diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn or lactose intolerance. Some people will have arthritis, depression, migraines, thyroid disease or liver disease that resolves when gluten is cut out of their routine. (Source: Today's Dietitian)

One way to find out if gluten is an issue for you is to take an at home test. I'm Aware is a lab that sells at home gluten tests. If you can't take an at home test, the next best way is to cut gluten out of your lifestyle for at least 30 days. Then slowly reintroduce it to see how you react to it. If you have bloating, gas, diarrhea, anxiety and frequent belching, there is a good chance you have a gluten sensitivity.


However, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes you won't experience any symptoms. Now you need to get to the root cause of what could be causing your gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, lack of energy, moodiness, skin rashes, abdominal pain, brain fog, anxiety, frequent belching or stomach gurgling.

Trying to figure out how to eliminate those embarrassing symptoms can be confusing and difficult. Not sure where to start? I am here to help!

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How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:

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If you don't have a sensitivity to gluten, then recipes like pasta salad can be made with gluten containing pasts. Unless you are afraid of carbohydrates! Unfortunately, a lot of people are afraid of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are being eliminated from our daily routine! Our bodies need carbohydrates balanced with protein and healthy fats to be healthy. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. (Source: Harvard School of Public Health) The quality of the carbohydrate is the key.

Staying away from highly processed refined carbohydrates and eating high quality carbohydrates like quinoa and whole wheat are the way to go. Also, look for organic sources of good carbohydrates. That way you get all of the benefits without the pesticides and chemicals found in non-organic pasta.

quinoa salad in a mason jar with fresh vegetables

It is easy to find pastas made of all different types of high quality carbohydrates. You can really amp up the nutritional value of a pasta salad by using pastas made from quinoa, chickpeas or lentils. The cooking time may vary but the amount of traditional pasta that is used in any recipe can be swapped out for the same amount of any other variety of pasta.

Another reason I love pasta salads is you can substitute ingredients depending on what is available during the season or if someone has allergy restrictions or you just doesn't care for an ingredient. Anything goes when making a pasta salad. Plus, pasta salads are great to bring to barbecues, family gatherings and office parties. Below are 5 really creative pasta salads.


Healthy Chicken Pasta Salad from The Recipe Critic. This is a great example of how a pasta salad can be served as the main course for dinner. It is easy because it calls for a rotisserie chicken already prepared (make sure it is organic). But if you have the time, I like to cook the chicken myself.

That way I know exactly what is being put on the chicken. But that's just me! This recipe includes a homemade dressing. I prefer to make a dressing versus buying something from the store because store-bought dressing is loaded with added sugar! Click here for the recipe.

healthy chicken spinach pasta salad in a bowl

Greek Tortellini Salad from Spend with Pennies. The tortellini is such a filling pasta that it easily can be Meatless Monday option if you are looking to cut back on meat in your families meals. Tossed with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and olives, this pasta salad will become a family favorite. Click here for the recipe.

Greek tortellini salad on a plate with vegetables

Southwest Black Bean Pasta Salad by Veggie Inspired. This is for the more daring cook who wants to test the limits of their families and friends willingness to try something new. This is a really healthy pasta salad including black beans, avocado, zucchini, and tomatoes. Plus, it calls for a homemade jalapeno creamy ranch.

It is called "creamy" but it is non-dairy. The creamy texture comes from cashews. I kid you not! If you haven't tried this trick, it is a must. The dressing link is within the recipe, found by clicking here.

southwest black bean pasta salad in a bowl and on a fork

Steak & Caramelized Onions Arugula and Penne Pasta from Skinny Taste. This recipe used a mixed grain penne pasta to make this recipe gluten-free. This is a great compromise if you have a meat-eater who absolutely must have meat at every meal. Plus, the steak and onions can be made ahead of time making this a quick dinner option during the hectic work week. The arugula and penne is tossed with a basic balsamic vinaigrette, allowing the flavors of the steak to shine through. Click here for the recipe.

grilled sirloin and onions on arugula on a plate

Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad from Gimme Some Oven. Did I really just write Ramen Noodle Salad? Yes I did! I was so intrigued that I googled Organic Ramen Noodles and you can buy organic on amazon! Even better, I found organic rice ramen noodles at Costco. Perfect for a gluten free version of this salad.

Anyway, the salad comes together quickly because it uses a pre-bagged cole slaw mix for the cabbage. This is one of my favorite recipe hacks. You have probably walked by the premade coleslaw mix without ever thinking it could be used in a recipe other than coleslaw! The noodles are baked not boiled and the seasoning packet is not used (if it comes with one). Add-in's are avocado, edamame and mango! Click here for the recipe.

crunchy ramen noodle salad on a plate


I hope this post about pasta salads gave you great ideas on how to incorporate them into your healthy eating lifestyle. Pasta salads easily make a great lunch or dinner. They can be made gluten free by using pastas made from quinoa, beans or rice.

Don't be afraid of carbohydrates! Our bodies need carbohydrates balanced with protein and healthy fats to be healthy. Processed carbohydrates should be avoided while high quality carbohydrates such as quinoa, should be eaten regularly.

Do you think you will try any of the above? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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