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Healthy and delicious pasta salad recipes


Pasta salads tend to be made with high-fat mayonnaise or mayonnaise-based dressings — neither are very healthy or kind to our figures during the skin-baring summer season. But don’t fret! We have some healthy yet tasty alternatives to the classic pasta salad.

healthy pasta salad

Quick tips

Load up on veggies

It’s easy to make a pasta salad healthier just by adding lots of vegetables to your recipe. Carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, avocado… the list is endless and they all make great additions to a pasta salad. You can always count on healthy veggies for extra bulk, texture, flavour and nutrition.

Amp up the protein

Lean protein is a delicious addition to pasta salad. Chicken, salmon, tuna or canned beans are excellent choices when looking for healthy proteins that will bring flavour to pasta salad.

Herb it

Fresh herbs add great fresh flavours without adding fat, calories or sodium to your pasta. When adding herbs, fresh is a better alternative to the dried variety. Basil, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, dill and parsley are all great additions.

Use mustard

Instead of using a high-fat mayonnaise-based dressing, try Dijon or whole-grain mustard to still get that creamy taste without all the fat. It also adds a delicious tangy flavour to your recipe. When mayonnaise is absolutely needed, substitute about half of the amount for sour cream or buttermilk.

Low-fat vinaigrette

Vinegar-based dressings are low in fat and calories and don’t need to be chilled so you can bring them anywhere. A simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing with lots of herbs and spices can add bold flavours and keep fat and calories at bay.


Italian Pasta Salad

Serves 6


  •  6 ounces canned tuna
  •  6 ounces diced provolone cheese
  •  12 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta
  • 1 diced red onion diced
  •  1 tomato, chopped and seeded
  •  3/4 cup sliced roasted red pepper
  •  6 ounces sliced black pitted olives
  •  1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  •  1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  •  1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  •  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  •  2 tsp Italian seasoning
  •  1/4 tsp whole grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and let sit to cool.
  2. Combine pasta, tuna, provolone cheese, red onion, tomato, red pepper, olives, basil and Parmesan cheese.
  3. Whisk olive oil with vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, mustard (and salt and pepper, if desired).
  4. Pour dressing over pasta mixture. Coat by tossing gently. Chill until ready to serve.

Next: Greek-style spinach pasta salad and more >>

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