Healthy Fusilli Pasta Salad
A wonderful, healthy, light meal that the whole family will enjoy throughout the summer, Fusilli Pasta Salad is both delicious and easy to make! This colorful pasta dish can serve as a staple for any number of desired toppings or ingredients, but today, we’re going to go with a few standard ingredients that will not only make your Fusilli Pasta Salad look absolutely appetizing, but a scrumptious healthy choice!
To get started, you’re going to need the following ingredients: (1) pound of whole wheat Fusilli pasta, (1) pound of baby spinach, (1) cup of cherry tomatoes, (4) ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese balls,(1) cup of chickpeas, (1) lemon, (3) tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil,(2) tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and, of course, kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
Because they will take the longest to prepare, you’ll want to make sure that your chickpeas are also cooked thoroughly and ready to eat. While normally raw chickpeas need to be soaked overnight in cold water before they can be cooked, a quick way to soak/cook your chickpeas is to put your cup of chickpeas into a pot of water – covering the peas with roughly 3-4 inches of water. Adding a teaspoon of baking soda, bring the chickpeas to a boil over high heat. After doing so, leave the chickpeas to boil rapidly for another 5 minutes or so. Afterwards, drain and rinse the chickpeas, and then leave to soak for about an hour. Then place your chickpeas on a low-medium fire to simmer for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the desired firmness of your peas. One other way is to place the chickpeas along with the water and baking soda into a slow cooker and leave cook on high heat for up to 4 hours. While both of these methods will yield fresher and tastier chickpeas, when you’re pressed for time, you can always buy pre-cooked chickpeas, usually found in your canned food aisle at your local supermarket.
Once you’ve got your cooked chickpeas and the rest of your ingredients available,you can begin by cooking your Fusilli Pasta. After bringing a pot of water to boil on your stove top, empty your Fusilli Pasta into the pot – and stir frequently so that the pasta does not stick. The standard cooking time for Fusilli Pasta is roughly 10-12 minutes; however, with Low Carb Fusilli, usually containing about 25% less carbohydrates than normal Fusilli, the standard cooking time is usually between 7 – 10 minutes. After around seven minutes, begin to check your pasta to see if they have been cooked all the way through. Remember, you don’t want to overcook them, or they won’t hold together. Once cooked, drain and rinse your pasta in cold water and place it in a large bowl.
Next, grab your fresh pound of baby spinach and your cup of cherry tomatoes and make sure that they are washed thoroughly and strained; (you may want to let your baby spinach dry before adding it to the dish). Then, in combination with the 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella balls and your cooked chickpeas, combine all of these ingredients into the bowl with your cooked pasta. Mix/toss your pasta salad to make sure that all of your ingredients are mixed in together well – creating a beautiful array of colors and fresh crisp flavors. Then, for seasoning, add the juice and zest of your (1) lemon, (3) tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, (2) tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. Mix well, and enjoy!
The combination of these ingredients will not only leave everyone happy and full, but will provide your family with a healthy helping of proteins, carbohydrates, and valuable nutrients. Eating healthy never looked or tasted this good!