Who doesn’t adore pasta? There is an actual several medical explanations as to why we crave pasta, or carbs in general, for that matter.
“Carb craving is a part of everyday life”, says Judith Wurtman, PhD. on Web M.D. She and her husband, MIT professor Richard J. Wurtman, have spent decades researching links between carbs and depression and are convinced that their is a correlation between carb craving and reduction in our serotonin levels, the brain’s “feel good” hormone.
Brain scans in men have shown the addiction center of the brain lights up after a large pasta meal. Going too long without eating can cause a carb craving because it provides us with sugar (yes, carbs convert to sugar in the body).
There’s a slew of information out there as to why we should eat carbs in moderation. But you shouldn't stop eating them altogether. What follows are 5 healthy pasta salad recipes you can feel good about eating because they're actually good for you!
1. Gemelli Salad with Green Beans, Pistachios and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
The pasta in this dish, gemelli, not only has a stylish look, it's perfect for meat, cream, seafood and veggie sauces.This is more than likely the reason it was paired with this dish—to pair up with the vinaigrette—and it makes a great summer pasta salad recipe. Go to My Recipes.com, for the full ingredient list and cooking instructions.
2. Peanut Chicken Soba Salad
Soba noodles are from Japan and the buckwheat variety are considered by nutritionists, to be one of the healthiest foods out there! Buckwheat is not a cereal grain at all but is a fruit, related to the rhubarb and sorrel families. It's a great substitute for those with wheat and grain sensitivities.
Not only is this meal delicious, it's quick cooking and handy for those nights where cooking is the last thing you want to do.This recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken, fresh veggies, and of course, Asian flavors. Again, pop over to My Recipes.com for the full list of ingredients and cooking instructions.
3. Udon Noodle Aalad with Broccolini and Spicy Tofu
You can’t go wrong, health wise, with this dish. Like soba noodle, udon are made of wheat, though generally not buckwheat. They're thick, soft and chewy and are best purchased fresh. Dried udon is good but the texture is more dense. Udon’s neutral flavor is perfect for strongly flavored dishes. Broccolini is not a baby broccoli, as one might think. It looks exactly like broccoli but with long stems and tender leaves and is a cross between slender Chinese broccoli and the thick stemmed variety we're more familiar with. It's less bitter than regular broccoli and has a sweet flavor reminiscent of asparagus.
This is a great a cold pasta salad recipe for those hot days when hot foods are too overwhelming. Check it out at My Recipes.com.
4. Seven Layer Pasta Salad
This is definitely a summertime pasta salad. It combines green veggies (lettuce and broccoli) with pasta in different levels along with cheese, ham and buttermilk ranch dressing (homemade, not store bought!) Get the recipe on the Food Network’s website.
5. Picnic Pasta Salad Recipe
This pasta salad won the “Taste of Home” pasta salad competition in the past, and it has a little something for everyone. The author opted for Italian dressing instead of the more traditional mayonnaise to bind it together and it is loaded with beans, veggies, artichoke hearts and two types of tri-colored pasta—spiral shaped and tortellini. You can make this award winning pasta salad using the recipe at the Taste of Home website.
Pasta salads are a versatile,easy, and delicious addition to a meal or a full meal in itself. However, remember to enjoy yur pasta in moderation and try some of the healthier varieties in the market today, such as whole wheat and buckwheat. You're waistline will thank you!