I can’t think of a better summertime lunch or dinner than a chilled Seafood Pasta Salad. Can’t think of a more wholesome, healthy meal either – high in protein, low GI (glycemic index), and loaded with nutrients and pro-biotics. But mostly it’s delicious! It’s been a family favorite for decades changing a little here and there in the ingredients and flavors depending on my mood. That Zen thing again (I do hope y’all realize I’m using that in an affectionately ironic way). Like most cold salads, you can throw all kinds of stuff in there that you like and, of course, omit anything that doesn’t make your taste buds sing.
I’ve also made a number of ingredient substitutions to it over the years to make it more healthy and considerably more calorie friendly:
- Instead of white pasta, use whole wheat pasta which adds more protein and fiber.
- Replace 100% mayonnaise in the dressing with primarily fat-free Greek yogurt and a small amount of mayonnaise – it needs the oil/fat in it, just not that much. The Greek yogurt kicks up the protein considerably and cuts the calories likewise. It’s also really good for your innards.
- Replace regular mayonnaise with olive oil mayonnaise. Olive oil is a good oil/fat that we need in our diets every day to help keep bad cholesterol in check.
- Replace sugar with honey to get the anti-oxidant benefit.
Seafood Pasta Salad
- 1 lb pkg whole wheat rotini = 1440 cal
- 1-16 oz pkg faux crab = 400 cal
- 2-3 stalks chopped celery = 6 cal
- 3-4 chopped green onions = 15 cal
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed = 60 cal
- 1 chopped red bell pepper = 30 cal
- 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise = 150 cal
- 1-1/2 cups plain, fat-free Greek yogurt = 180 cal
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar = 42 cal
- 1 TBS honey = 64 cal (you can substitute artificial sweetener if desired/needed)
- 2 TBS lemon juice = 20 cal
- salt to taste
Total calories = 2407
- 6 servings = 401 calories
- 7 servings = 344 calories + 2 deviled eggs (80 calories) = 424 calories (as shown in pic above)
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. If you’re using an Instant Pot, place pasta in pot, cover with water; seal and set for 4 minutes HP. Quick release to avoid over-cooking. Rinse with cool water immediately.
- Toss pasta, faux crab, and chopped veggies in a bowl together.
- Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, and salt. Fold into pasta mixture.
You can also add salad shrimp, sliced black olives, shredded carrots or baby spinach. (Picture above includes shredded baby spinach.) Excellent Veggie Creep opportunity!
Right on cue and because I must: