By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
lasagne noodles • orzo • elbow macaroni • thin spaghetti • whole wheat penne angel hair nests • farfalline • couscous
October is National Pasta Month. To celebrate, the National Pasta Association is holding a recipe contest that kicks off today. The challenge is to show how pasta fits into a healthy lifestyle! So, what’s up with the laundry list of wheat pasta at the beginning of this post? That’s actually a list of the different types of pasta currently in my kitchen pantry. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Boy, she sure does like pasta!’ Yes, I do relish the taste of pasta, and I also delight in the fact that it’s the perfect foundation for healthy meals, like my version of salad nicoise.
As a runner, and mom of two athletes (I’m proud to say, both now NCAA Div. I college athletes), I’ve always relied on carbohydrates for energy for myself and my family. Pasta is an excellent source of carbohydrates, and it pairs so well with lean protein and vegetables, making it simple to pull together a healthy meal in a matter of minutes. Not only that, pasta satisfies hunger and is budget friendly, which should make it a blue chip pick for many consumers.
Get out your stopwatch, today’s recipe can be made in 20 minutes! All of the ingredients used are staples in my kitchen, making this my go-to meal after a hectic day when there’s little time for food prep. I also frequently make this a day ahead. This way, if I get a chance to squeeze in a long run, all I have to do is pull it out of the refrigerator, making it easy to time my recovery within the recommended 30 minutes following my workout. It provides me with an appropriate balance of carbohydrates (for replacing muscle fuel), protein (for building and repairing muscle tissue) and healthy fats for good cardiovascular health and taste. I hope you’ll try my salad nicoise after you wind down from your next run or other sports participation! Please check out the other links at the bottom of this post to discover more ways pasta fits into a healthy lifetstyle.
for the dressing
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons Canola oil
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- freshly ground pepper to taste
for the salad
- 2 cups frozen green beans
- 2 cups uncooked farfelline (mini bow tie pasta)
- 2 ribs of celery, sliced
- 1/2 cup red onion, thinnly sliced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 12 oz. can water packed tuna, drained
- 5 pimento stuffed olives, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
for the dressing
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
for the salad
1. Steam frozen green beans according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Add 2-3 quarts of water and a pinch of salt to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
3. Add pasta to boiling water, stirring gently.
4. Cover pot with lid until water begins to boil again, then remove lid. Stir pasta frequently. Cook according to package directions, mini bow tie pasta may take only 6 minutes to cook til ‘al dente’ or firm to the bite.
5. Once pasta reaches al dente, drain and run under cold water to stop from further cooking.
6. Add pasta, tuna, green beans, celery, onion, tomatoes, olives and basil to a large bowl or platter.
7. Stir dressing to combine ingredients and pour over pasta, tuna and vegetables. Toss well.
8. Garnish with fresh basil.
9. Serve immediately or refrigerate to enjoy later. (Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.)