by Janice Dietrich
The temperatures are rapidly heating up here in Western Pennsylvania and with Memorial Day behind us, cookout season is officially here. Dr. Cole has written articles about decreasing inflammation while at parties because while choosing better options may not be first nature, it is possible!
One food that I love having at picnics and parties in the summer is pasta salad. If you would’ve told me a few years ago that this dish isn’t “healthy” I would’ve thought you were crazy, but personally I now know that eating it will cause painful inflammation in my body. I’m sure you know that I’m going to give you a recipe to make a healthier version of the classic pasta salad. Before I do that though, I want to make a note about some inflammatory ingredients for those wondering what we need to change about this meal. The pasta has grains and gluten in it, the cheese is processed dairy, pepperoni is usually made with conventional and low-quality meats, and Italian dressing normally has industrially-processed oils. Each of these ingredients can cause inflammation in various forms.
Another note is that if you are intolerant or sensitive to nightshades, these will be present in peppers, tomatoes, paprika, and almost any brand of pepperoni. If you are not sensitive, these can be great ingredients and the peppers and tomatoes bring a lot of health benefits to this dish. My husband does have a slight sensitivity, so I take out a serving for him before I add these ingredients so that he can still enjoy it too.
I also want to note that I used Mann’s Kohlrabi Noodles that I purchased from our local grocery store, Giant Eagle. You can find out if it is sold in a store near you here. If not, Trader Joe’s and most local health food stores usually have a few veggie noodle options to choose from. Or if you would rather make your own, it’s super easy to make zucchini noodles with a spiralizer! If you go this route I recommend pressing the zucchini noodles between a few paper towels to remove any excess water and quickly sautéing on medium-high heat with a very small amount of olive oil. You still want it to be crisp so only cook the zucchini for a minute or two before placing on paper towels again and allowing to cool.
Pasta Salad Ingredients:
- 1 bag Kohlrabi Noodles or your favorite veggie noodle
- 1 of each Red and Green Bell Pepper, diced
- 3 Green Onions
- 8 oz Kalamata Olives, drained
- 8 oz Applegate Pepperoni, cut into small slices or diced
- 4 Ounces Vegan Cheese, diced (optional)
- 2 Cups Broccoli, diced small
- 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
- ½ Cucumber or English Cucumber, diced
- ½ Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Celery Ribs, diced
- 1 Cup Fresh Spinach, chopped (optional)
- ¼ Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
- ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- ½ tsp Oregano
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tbsp minced garlic or ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp paprika (remove for nightshade sensitivity)
- Cook your Kohlrabi or other vegetable noodles and allow to cool. One preference I have is to cut these noodles into about 3-inch pieces. This is not an exact size; I just don’t like super long noodles in a pasta salad.
- If you haven’t diced all your ingredients yet, now is the time to do so.
- Place all salad ingredients but peppers, pepperoni, and tomatoes in bowl and mix.
- Place dressing ingredients except paprika in a small bowl and mix.
- This is when I separate a portion of the pasta salad for my husband and pour a small amount of the dressing in with it as well.
- You can now add the paprika into the dressing, add the additional ingredients into the salad, and mix the two together. Refrigerate until serving and enjoy!
Note: This recipe is pretty easy to alter. If you don’t like spinach or celery in your pasta salad, it’s fine to replace them with a different veggie. As long as your using good quality and non-inflammatory ingredients it’ll still be great!
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