Healthy pasta salad is hard to come by. However, it can be done! After I had my second child I looked specifically for foods that were good for breastfeeding. I wanted high fiber, to keep me and baby full, and high protein to help my body heal faster. Well, I found a similar recipe to the one I will share below and it was great! My husband and toddler liked it too. So it was a match for us. I tweaked the recipe slightly to make it a little healthier without losing the taste. Now it has just 5 ingredients!
This healthy pasta salad is high in protein. I recently read (here) that most Americans do not get the amount of protein they need on the daily. I then used a tool on this site to figure out if I was getting my daily amount. I wasn’t even close! It says I need 68 grams. Protein helps build muscle, prevent injury, and provides our bodies with energy. For a busy mom who loves to work out getting the right ingredients into my body is crucial. While I did not but any of the products on the links provided above, it reminded me that I need to get back to some of these recipes that are high protein.
This healthy pasta salad recipe has over 22.5 grams of protein per a 1 cup serving. It is low in sugar and has almost 3 grams of fiber. Also important for a breastfeeding or expecting mama is Iron and one serving of this provides over 16% of your daily needs. Each cup of this healthy pasta salad is about 350 calories so that it is a light lunch or, a half a serving is a great side dish.
Oh, you know what else is great about this dish? Other than its healthiness. It is best served cooled. So you can make it ahead. Even make it in intervals which so many times happens for the busy mom. So grab these 5 ingredients and whip up this recipe in a no time, or at least in your time!
- 12 oz box of preferred pasta (I used bow-tie this time)
- 2 packages of Turkey Polska Kielbasa (24 oz)
- I bag of spinach (or about 4 cups fresh)
- 4 oz Neufchatel Cream Cheese
- Feta Cheese, to taste
- Olive oil & garlic to cook
- Cook the pasta.
- While it is cooking slice the Kielbasa.
- Drain pasta into a drainer and rinse with cool water, stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself.
- Drop a little oil into the same pan you cooked the pasta into. If you prefer, mince some garlic into the pan.
- Add the kielbasa and cook for 2-3 minutes, covered but stirring occasionally.
- Add the spinach and continue to rotate between a covered pot and stirring until the spinach is fully cooked.
- Lower the heat, add cream cheese, and stir till melted.
- Mix in the pasta.
- Transfer your healthy pasta salad into a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Serve immediately and/or cooled.
- Once the pasta salad is cooled you can use a knife to divide into 8 equal parts.
- 350 calories and 22.5 grams of protein a serving!
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