Summer Pasta Salad

Robin's Summer Pasta Salad is the perfect backyard barbecue side. It's lighter and healthier than the store-bought alternative.

While researching nutrition for this post, I nearly fell off my chair when I ran the numbers for store-bought pasta salad. I knew prepared pasta dishes were fairly rich, but I didn’t think one two-cup serving had more calories, fat and sodium than three McDonald’s Double Cheeseburgers. Yes, THREE. Read it and weep:

Store-bought pasta salad (2 cups):
Calories: 818
Total Fat: 67 grams
Saturated Fat: 18 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 30 grams
Sugars: 3 grams
Protein: 21 grams
Sodium: 2181 milligrams
Cholesterol: 61 milligrams
Fiber: 6 grams

Two cups of this disastrous dish contain an entire day’s worth of fat and sodium. Spread the word because pasta salads are a backyard barbecue’s best friend – and it’s one of the most popular side dishes to grab at the grocery store, whether for your own party or a friend’s. Save everyone’s arteries at the next soiree and make my lighter version. It’s fresh and wonderful and has just 341 calories for the same 2-cup serving.

Summer Pasta Salad

I like using basil and parsley but you can just use one of the herbs and double the amount.

1 pound spiral pasta

2 tablespoons garlic-flavored red wine vinegar or regular red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup diced roasted red peppers
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1/4 cup sliced pitted black olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons drained capers

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. While still warm, add vinegar, oil, honey, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well. Fold in remaining ingredients. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 6

Nutrition Info Per Serving (serving size: 2 cups)
Calories: 341
Total Fat: 4 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.4 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 66 grams
Sugars: <1 gram
Protein: 8 grams
Sodium: 215 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: 3 grams
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