What could be better than pasta that makes you feel like a legit goddess?
I use the word “legit” loosely, but for real, this pasta salad is satisfying, nourishing, and filled with healthy green veggies that will make you glow inside and out.
Plus, every goddess deserves a little pasta in her life.
Poor pasta. It’s definitely gotten a bad wrap in recent years. Its perceived as downright evil in some circles (very low carb diets, paleo, grain-free, etc.) but not due to any fault of its own. Sure, pasta contains carbs, but so do quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, blueberries, kale, black beans, chia seeds, and pretty much every other plant food on the planet.
I think part of the problem for pasta is just that its so darn delicious that it can be difficult not to go overboard on portion sizes. (Especially when its already on your plate. Some restaurant portions of pasta may be as much as 350% more than you need.)
Back in my college days, before I did much cooking, I used to just boil a pot of pasta, toss it with some jarred pasta sauce, plop down in front of my laptop, and call it a meal. It tasted pretty good going down but I usually found myself either (a) ravenous within an hour or two (after eating a “normal” portion) or (b) completely stuffed (after consuming what seemed like no less than my full weight in semolina).
Since then, I’ve made a few changes to the way I prepare and serve pasta and it’s made a huge difference in the way I feel after eating it.
1. Use whole grain pasta.
Switching up your pasta from white/regular to whole grain is one of the easiest ways to bump up your dish’s nutrition and satisfaction levels. Because whole grain pasta contains more fiber, you’re more likely to feel full after eating less.
I usually use whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta when I’m looking for a gluten free option. I’ve also been loving the new, high-protein bean pastas I’ve been seeing more and more recently. (Like pasta, but made with beans instead of grains!)
2. Include lots of veggies.
Adding more vegetables is definitely the most delicious improvement I made to my pasta routine.
Vegetables offer texture, color, flavor, and, of course, tons of nutrition. Like whole grains, vegetables are also rich sources of fiber, so you’re bound to feel satisfied sooner with them around.
In this recipe, I focused on everything green (broccoli, sugar snap peas, spinach, and fresh parsley) but usually, I look for a variety of colors, shapes, and textures to add interest to the meal.
3. Enjoy mindfully.
Like most foods, pasta is so much tastier when you actually taste it.
When I ate my big bowl of pasta in front of my computer during college, I was making it a lot more difficult for my brain to register satisfaction. Now, I do my best to set aside work, sit at a table when I can, and truly enjoy the meal in front of me.
I also try to put the fork down on occasion to check in. I like to ask questions like:
“Am I still hungry”
“Am I satisfied?”
“Does this taste good?”
Often times, I find I’m perfectly pleased with half of the amount of pasta that I used to eat in front of the screen.
Making these simple changes has allowed me to fully enjoy the delicious benefits of pasta, guilt-free.
It’s great freshly made and still warm but I also love this pasta salad cold or at room temperature.
This recipe is also great at home but I love it for picnics and packed lunches too! It’s just the thing for gods and goddesses on the run.
- 3 cups dry whole wheat fusilli (or pasta of choice)
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 cups broccoli, chopped into florets
- 2 cups sugar snap peas
- 2 tbsp tahini (my tahini is thin, you may need to add more water to reach a dressing-like consistency)
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)
- Add pasta to pot of boiling water and cook until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside until ready to mix.
- In the meantime, heat oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add broccoli and snap peas and cook an additional 6-8 minutes.
- In a small bowl or jar, whisk together tahini, lemon, garlic, cayenne, and water.
- Add cooked pasta, chickpeas, spinach, parsley, nutritional yeast, and tahini sauce to wok and stir until mixed. Add salt to taste. Transfer to serving bowl, top with black pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired.
- Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.
What are your favorite vegetables to add to pasta dishes?