Pasta salad is one of my favourite meals. It’s quick, easy, and super satisfying.
You can make this meal whenever you want to eat something nutritious and filling yet quick.
Eating vegetables and fruits are the basics of a healthy diet. So eating salads every day is a great way to have more vegetables and fruits in your diet.
To make salads tastier and healthier, I often recommend adding some special extra ingredients. For example – quinoa, pasta, lentils, green peas and fruits like apples, mangoes or oranges. Nuts and seeds are also great additions! In this way, you can get a whole meal with the right balance of proteins, carbs and healthy fats packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre from the salad.
This pasta salad is easy, delicious and balanced! You get everything in one bowl of happiness.
I hope you will like it as well!
My Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
1 cup of cooked pasta – we’re using orecchiette, penne and farfalle. Any short pasta will work well here; the whole grain is best.
2 cups of dark green leaves (baby leaf salad, arugula leaves)
few mushrooms (portobello or shiitake)
1 cup of cherry tomatoes or dried tomatoes
few black or green olives
optional cheese: parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar or nutritional yeast (vegan)
fresh or dried basil, oregano and/or thyme
1 cup of broccoli florets
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to its package instructions, adding broccoli for the last 5 minutes. Once cooked and drained, rinse with cold water and set aside.
In a pan, stir-fry the mushrooms for a few minutes until they are lightly browned. Remove from heat and allow them to cool.
In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta, dark green leaves, cherry tomatoes, olives, parmesan, mushrooms, basil, oregano, thyme, and broccoli florets.
Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the salad, add salt and pepper to taste and toss until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Serve immediately or pack for a tasty lunch on the go.
Note: Feel free to add your favourite ingredients to the salad to make it extra delicious. This recipe takes approximately 10 minutes to prepare and makes a perfect dish for any occasion. Enjoy!
Tomatoes: Rich in antioxidants, including lycopene, which can improve bone and heart health.
Known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including lycopene.
Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene, its antioxidant properties, and bone health. 
Eating tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Lycopene may improve vascular function and help to prevent cardiovascular disorders. 
Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Shiitake Mushrooms: Enhance immune function, rich in B vitamins, minerals, vitamin D, and dietary fibre.
Mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years.
Shiitake mushrooms appear to enhance immune function in both directions, giving it a boost and cutting back on its activity when needed.
Shiitake mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, minerals, vitamin D (in the D2 form) and dietary fibre. 
Basil: Contains flavonoids and volatile oils that have unique health-protecting effects. A good source of vitamins and minerals.
Basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils have shown unique health-protecting effects.
Basil has an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, an excellent source of copper and vitamin C, and a good source of calcium, iron, folate and omega-3 fatty acids. 
Low Glycemic Index: Pasta has a low glycemic index, making it a healthier option. Whole-wheat pasta is even better.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates in foods on how they affect blood glucose levels. It is a measure of how quickly the body converts carbohydrates into glucose. A food with a high GI raises blood sugar levels more rapidly than a food with a low GI.
You can find the index here. The scale is between 0–100.
Carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body have a low glycemic index (below 55). These are found in vegetables and most fruits and legumes.
Pasta glycemic index is 48-49
Spaghetti, white 49 ± 2
Spaghetti, wholemeal 48 ± 5
The reason that pasta has a low Glycemic Index is the molecular composition of its dough. It is ungelatinized starch trapped in a sponge-like network of proteins (gluten). Pasta is unique in this context. As a result, pasta of any shape and size has a low GI (30 to 60).
The best way to achieve a lower glycemic index is to cook the pasta for a shorter duration, “al dente” (firm to the bite). Overcooking pasta increases the GI.
Choose whole-wheat pasta for a healthier option. 
Whether you want to eat more vegetables or want a quick dinner idea, pasta salad is a great meal. It can be made with whatever toppings you like, and the combination of ingredients will keep you feeling satisfied all day long. Pasta salad is an especially good meal for people who are into fitness. And on top of being healthy, it’s also simple to make!