If you're a pasta enthusiast and also appreciate the flavor of fresh greens, this pasta salad is a great option to keep you satiated, give you energy and satisfy your tastebuds. Pasta gets a bad reputation, but pairing it with heavy fats such as lots of cheese or white sauce is what turns it into a heavier, less healthy dish. This recipe is a very green pasta salad, loaded with fresh nutrients and fiber that gives you energy for a workout or full day at the office.
If you love greens, and pizza, try this green power pizza recipe
There is also another way to keep things healthier, and this is using whole wheat pasta varieties or even gluten free ones (quinoa or buckwheat is my favorite). I used whole wheat fusilli to create this salad but you could use pretty much any variation you like. It turned out satiating and delicious. Adding fresh greens is a great way to increase your fresh nutrients and enzyme daily ratio, in a more delicious way than juicing or hiding them in a smoothie. Here are my favorite additions for this salad:
Whole wheat pasta – Unless you have a reaction to gluten, whole wheat is a good source of protein and fiber. Serving it next to fresh vegetables and greens increases its nutritional values, and makes it easier to digest. Use a gluten-free pasta variety if you have difficulties digesting gluten.
Kale – Kale contains a unique combination of fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants with extended health properties – fiber serves as prebiotic nurture for the micro-biome supporting the immune system and aiding digestion, the high carotenoid concentration supports the health of eye and skin, the antioxidants fight against free radicals damage and chronic disease, while also reducing inflammation and aiding the natural detoxification processes within your body. Just another reason to eat real food!
Broccoli – Like all of its relatives from the famed Cruciferous family, broccoli has exceptional detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties, while also reducing oxidative stress and possibly even fighting against chronic diseases such as cancer.
Mint – This herb stimulates digestion and also has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
Seeds – Supplement your mineral intake (especially magnesium and calcium), while also benefiting from seeds high load of healthy monounsaturated fats. I use hemp seeds, for their neutral taste and protein addition, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, lightly toasted (optional).
2 cups whole wheat pasta, (we used fusilli), uncooked
1 large bunch fresh kale leaves, roughly chopped
2 bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp hemp hearts
1/2 cup pumpkin and sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
1 small broccoli head, cut into small florets
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 lemon, juice only
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch sea salt
Boil the pasta according to the instructions. About 2 minutes before ready to drain, add the broccoli florets.
Drain, transfer into a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and set aside to cool.
Add the kale leaves, parsley, mint, onion, hemp and mixed seeds, and toss to combine.
In a blender add the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, Dijon, salt and pepper and pulse to obtain a creamy dressing.
Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to combine and serve.
If we've used a vegetable, herbs, or pasta type that's not your favorite, don't be afraid to modify and make it work for you. Your food should taste GOOD! Always modify to make a recipe work for your tastes and needs.