Jun. 20. 2017
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

There’s nothing better than having a huge bowl of cold pasta salad ready to eat, loaded with fiber, veggies, protein, and healthy fats!

Growing up in Ohio, my parents had the sweetest little garden in our backyard and it was robust in the summer with cucumber, tomatoes, dill, and tons of other fresh herbs. Our go-to recipe to use up all the goodies from the garden were salads, including this cold pasta salad which is a play on my mom’s famous one! Hers includes cheese cubes, black olives, less arugula, and whole wheat noodles. I gave my mom’s pasta salad an NS makeover (sorry mom) with a bit more fiber and vegetables, more healthy fats, and selfishly making it work with my own personal health challenges (i.e. dairy and gluten free). The wonderful thing about this recipe is the flexibility, you can use whole wheat noodles if that works for you, add in high quality/organic cheese or follow my recipe to a “t” and try it out NS style!

I use gluten free pasta made from chickpea flour (hello added protein!), tons of fresh arugula which becomes wilted and so delicious when mixed with olive oil and lemon, sliced radishes, edamame, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, garlic. A couple things I like adding into this salad when I have them on hand is corn, bell peppers, and broccoli! This recipe is…

  • Make it in under 10 minutes for a simple leftover
  • Utilizes in season produce, hello fresh summer veggies!
  • Is a great leftover for a quick lunch or dinner
  • Family and kid-friendly

(nutrition) stripped and how this salad makes a great entree:

  1. Healthy fat: olive oil, nuts, seeds, proteins, and avocado all contain healthy fat to a degree. A couple tips on the avocado, if you’re allergic try adding in hemp seeds for additional fat and protein or a little extra olive oil.
  2. Protein power: depending on what your protein preference to add to this recipe is, the noodles I used are made from chickpeas which pack about 12g protein per serving (!) with the additional edamame we have a protein packed dish here. You can also add your favorite proteins in addition if you’re not using a chickpea pasta, such as fish, chicken, tempeh, tofu, lentils, or beans.
  3. Carbohydrates: the obvious carbohydrate source here is the pasta no matter if you’re making a gluten free pasta or not, the key is to make sure you have a protein and healthy fat to help balance those blood sugars! We need carbohydrates though, remember?
  4. Fiber boost: did someone say vegetables? The greens and vegetables used in this dish pack a punch of fiber which is another way to help balance blood sugars with a more carbohydrate rich dish. The avocado used here, which is also a healthy fat, contains a good amount of fiber as well – bonus!
  5. Optimizer option: boost the protein by adding a single serving of protein per serving (i.e. organic tempeh, tofu, chicken, fish, shrimp, lentils, extra beans, hemp seeds, etc.)

This salad is something you can make in 10 minutes, toss with a simple dressing, and pop it in the fridge for a healthy leftover for lunch, dinner, or bring it to the next BBQ and pool party with your pals! I found a brand of gluten free noodles I’ve really been loving lately but I’ll list a couple more in the blog post to help navigate that aisle for you just incase you haven’t tried them before.

If you try this recipe, I wanna hear about it, so let’s chat! Leave a comment it, rate it (this helps me improve future recipes), and don’t forget to tag a picture #nutritionstripped to show how you live and try these recipes on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with!


Healthy Garden Pasta Salad
Author: entree, salad
A simple healthy garden pasta salad made as an entree with protein, fiber, seasonal vegetables for the whole family to enjoy.
  • 1 box (8 ounces) banza gluten free pasta
  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 1 english cucumber, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup shelled and cooked edamame
  • 4 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes to taste
  • Garnish options: fresh chopped parsley, red pepper flakes
  1. Cook the pasta of your choosing to package instructions. Let cool after cooking by rinsing the noodles with cold water and set aside to cool off.
  2. In the meantime, prep vegetables and other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add cooled pasta noodles to the bowl and gently toss until combined.
  3. Store in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days, serve chilled.

Things I used to make this: banza gluten free noodles, raw apple cider vinegar, olive oil, my FAV mixing bowls (and they’re beautiful), and a fun watermelon towel to get in the summer mood!