The local supermarket sells a store-made pasta salad they call “Spring Pasta Salad”. They usually stock the product in the spring and summer months. The stuff is absolutely habit forming and has become one of my guilty pleasures. The trouble is, my physician says I need to cut back on such dishes because they contain so many carbs.
He pointed out that the particular pasta salad is prepared with a sugar sweetened liquid dressing, and the dish contains a very high pasta to vegetable ratio. It is one of the foods that is contributing to problems with blood glucose levels.
In that I need to cut back on the store bought pasta salad because of its carbohydrate load and that the seasonal product isn’t available in the cold months, I began experimenting and tweaking with healthier ingredients.
Now I toss together a pasta salad that uses whole grain pasta, chopped fresh broccoli and carrots, with diced onion and fresh green peas. I toss the ingredients with a dressing made from vegan mayonnaise, a splash of wine vinegar, and a dash of whatever spice I’m in the mood to taste. The ratio of veggies to pasta is around three to one. I’m generous with the dressing.
A great aspect about this salad, is that it is almost endlessly variable. You can use differently shaped pasta, try different raw vegetables, and switch the types of dressing to fit the type of meal you’re serving. When I serve it to my BF, he likes to add a sliced hard-boiled egg on top. I have to admit that doing spring pasta salad this way beats the supermarket variety, hands down.
The doctor’s new dietary suggestions include cutting back on pasta and cheese casserole. This is the most difficult adjustment because pasta and cheese is my favorite comfort food. Preparing it with whole grain pasta imparts a flavor I don’t quite like. This is probably a good aspect because it causes me to eat less of it than usual. Now, traditional pasta and cheese casserole is only a once in awhile, special treat.
Now that I’ve crossed the threshold into senior citizenship, I do my best to eat healthier. I keep an eagle eye out to eliminate processed sugars and minimalize the carbohydrate loaded foods like potatoes and breads. I take in a lot more protein and tasty vegetables. To be realistic and kind to myself, I do allow a little bit of whole grain pasta once or twice per week.
When I prepare a pasta dish, I put more effort into the sauce. I like marinara and spike it with finely chopped veggies and mushrooms. This combination is perfect with whole grain spaghetti.
Today is this week’s pasta indulgence day. I have all the ingredients necessary to prepare some home-made spring pasta salad. I can hardly wait.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis. “I made lemon spaghetti in an early season of ‘Everyday Italian,’ and to this day people still come up to me and say they love it. It’s very, very simple. Basically, you cook the pasta and mix together Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and pour it over the pasta.”