When you bring this low calorie pasta salad to your next potluck, not only will everyone be asking for the recipe, but you can enjoy eat this salad without derailing your weight loss efforts.
Say goodbye to food FOMO with this Low Calorie Pasta Recipe
Attending social events, parties, or neighborhood BBQ’s is part of summer. I never want to get to the point where I avoid socializing because the food FOMO is so overwhelming. In fact, I don’t just want to attend the parties, I also want to eat food with my friends and family!
Why you’ll love this Low Calorie Pasta
There is a way that you can enjoy food while socializing and still meet your weight loss goals. When you are invited to a summer BBQ or potluck, it’s always a good idea to bring a dish that serves two purposes.
- One, that it tastes great and everyone loves it.
- And second, that you can have at least one dish at the party that supports your weight loss goals.
This pasta salad covers both. Everyone loves it AND you’ll have something healthy to eat for yourself.
What makes this pasta salad low calorie is to use the light version of Italian dressing, and add as many low calorie veggies like cauliflower as possible.
Low Cal Pasta Recipe Ingredients
- Veggie spirals Wacky Mac pasta– I love this brand pasta for pasta salad. It’s colored with tomatoes, spinach, and beets, and just looks fresh and delicious.
- Black olives: Olives are a must in a classic pasta salad recipe. The healthy fats are great and actually improve the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.
- Variety of Veggies: The more vegetables you can include in your pasta salad, the lower the calories will be for the same amount of salad. High volume, low calorie is the best way to lose weight, because you never feel deprived. For this pasta salad I used a mixture of cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower and bell pepers.
- Feta Cheese: Feta gives this pasta salad most of it’s flavor. Don’t skip this ingredient! You can lower the calories and fat however by subbing fat free feta.
- Italian Dressing: One reason this recipe is so simple, is because you don’t have to buy 10 ingredients just for the dressing. Classic Italian dressing is the perfect match for pasta salad.
Low Calories Pasta Recipe Substitutions
While I made this pasta salad with traditional pasta, you can lower the calories significantly by selecting some of these substitutes!
- Healthy Noodle (a new gluten free product at Costco that is only 25 calories per serving!)
- Livivia – another low calorie, gluten free pasta for 15 calories per serving!
- Fat free feta can be easily swapped for whole fat feta cheese.
- Light Italian dressing can be used instead of full fat Italian dressing.
How to make pasta salad
This dish is so simple to make. I do it in three steps or phases.
- Start by cooking your pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is tender, rinse and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, chop your veggies into bite size pieces.
- Lastly, toss the pasta with the veggies, cheese, and dressing, and then chill it in the fridge until you are ready to eat.
How to store leftover Pasta salad
The best thing about pasta salad is that the longer it sits in the fridge, the better I think it tastes! Something about chilling all those flavors together, really improves over time.
So, if you happen to have any pasta salad left after your party or potluck (which you probably won’t!), then just store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Low Calorie Pasta Salad for Weight Loss
- 6 ounces wacky mac pasta
- 1 cup small black olives, pitted
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 head chopped cauliflower
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 3/4 cup Italian dressing
- Cook pasta according to package directions
- Chop veggies
- Mix all ingredients together and chill for 2-4 hours.
- serve cold
I’ve made this pasta salad twice now, and both times I loved it so much that I ate it for days following the activity. We made it to bring to girls camp for one of our lunches. All the girls ate it and loved it.
The second time I made it was for a Sunday night dinner. I should have made it for our neighborhood 4th of July BBQ, but I made potato salad instead, since we had all those ingredients already.
And that’s it! Let me know if you try this low calorie pasta salad and if it was well received by others. And don’t forget. Rather than avoiding social situations, embrace them as an opportunity to share a healthy dish with your friends and family. Also, let it be a chance to practice being around food without feeling like you have to eat it all!
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