This Southwestern Pasta Salad with Quinoa is a deliciously healthy pasta salad that you will find yourself craving time and again. The dressing has an oil-free option, making it easy to fit into your dietary plan.
Pasta Salad with Quinoa is a Delicious Protein-Packed Meal!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
(Ok, so technically as I write this it isn't the new year yet, but by the time most of you read this it will be.)
I love New Year's because I thrive on change and the idea of new beginnings.
Like many of you, I've been thinking about how I want 2013 to look. And the first place I'm starting is with my diet.
I'll have to admit that for the last three months, my diet has been...less than ideal. It's not that I haven't had good days, but I've also had a bit of a "This is my last pregnancy so I might as well eat up" attitude. (It doesn't help that I've been testing for my gluten free cookbook and have fresh baked goodies in the house 24/7. )
The last few days I've really cleaned things up and I already can tell a difference in how I feel.
In this vein, my big and immediate goal for 2013 is to finish the pregnancy strong, focusing on making sure I am eating nutritious real food and keeping the less-nutritious treats to a minimum. (i.e. I'm not going to be making lunch of homemade pretzels...no matter how much "the baby likes them". Instead I'll have a big salad with a few pretzels on the side.) It's really the best kind of "diet" plan because instead of focusing on limiting my intake or total control, I instead have goals of making sure I get enough greens, raw veggies, fruit, beans, etc. I am hoping that this mental shift will become a permanent part of my relationship with food.
Of course, I have lots of other things I want to do next year! I just am trying to sift through what is going to be realistic with a newborn.
Today, I've got a great healthy quinoa pasta salad for you. It's the perfect take along lunch and high in both fiber and Vitamin C! I think it would be great with a little Daiya or cheddar added in, though I absolutely love it as is.
Southwestern Quinoa Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces quinoa pasta
- ½ tablespoon olive oil for pasta
- 1 cup cooked quinoa red or rainbow
- 1 ½ cup black beans drained and rinsed (about one can)
- 1 large tomato diced
- 1 cup frozen corn thawed
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 1 avocado pitted and iced
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil OR 3T water + 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 - 2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- If using chia gel in place of olive oil, combined 3 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of chia seeds. Mix well and set aside. (Note: if you are planning on making this salad ahead of time the pasta will keep best with the addition of oil. If you don’t want to use the full 3 tablespoons for the dressing, simply toss the pasta with a little olive oil just after cooking.)
- Cook quinoa pasta according to package directions, being careful not to over or under cook. Drain and rinse. Toss with ½ tablespoon of olive oil
- In a small bowl combine lime juice, olive oil or chia gel, chipotle pepper, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper
- Combined cooked pasta with quinoa, beans, tomato, corn, red pepper, jalapeno, and red pepper. Toss with dressing, reserving a little if desired. When ready to serve add in avocado and additional dressing if desired.