There are days when I am so busy looking after kids, taking care of household stuff, running errands, etc. that I just can't seem to find the time to have a healthy lunch. On those days, I find myself shoving a handfull of baby carrots with some hummus in my mouth, maybe adding a few almonds and a piece of fruit. Now, it's still healthy and it keeps me going but it's not necessarily satisfying and it's definitely not the most enjoyable meal I could have.
I love when I have the foresight and time to plan something ahead of time. This Asian-style pasta salad is pretty quick and easy to throw together and it gets better as it sits in the fridge--the flavors really seem to develop. The nice thing about it is that my kids like it, too and it packs nicely into a thermos for my older daughter's school lunch box. The great thing about it is that since my husband has this weird aversion to eating cold pasta, this salad can also be warmed up prior to eating. He eats his warmed up and the rest of us enjoy it nicely chilled.
Filled with crunchy veggies and dressed with a slightly sweet Ginger Tamari Dressing, this pasta salad is both enjoyable and satsfying. I like to throw my serving on top of a handful of mixed Spring greens or romaine lettuce for an extra serving of vegetables.
This is definetely a recipe that you can play with. Add whatever veggies you think sounds best or you can follow the recipe exactly. I usually whip this up the night before, stick it in the fridge and by lunch time the next day it is insanely delicious.
Asian Pasta Salad (Prep/cook time: 15 minutes Chill time: At least 4 hours Serves 4-6 depending on serving size)
3 cups cooked pasta of your choice ( I used gluten free brown rice and quinoa rotini pasta here)
1 1/2 cups shelled frozen edamame, defrosted
1/1/2 cup snow peas, halved*
1/3 cup diced sweet bell pepper
3 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional, to add a little heat)
Raw sunflower seeds or black sesame seeds for garnish, if desired (totally optional)
Ginger Tamari Dressing:
6 Tbs. gluten free tamari (I like to use the low-sodium version) or soy sauce
1 Tbs. raw apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 tps. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 Tbs. freshly grated ginger, or to taste
2-3 Tbs. liquid sweetener of choice (I used 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup as we like the dressing on the sweeter side)
2 Tbs. hemp hearts (optional)**
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, or use leftover pasta. While the pasta cooks, throw all the dressing ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until competely mixed. Set aside.
2. Prepare all the veggies. When the pasta is done (I prefer it al dente) drain it thoroughly and rinse with cold water to cool it down. You don't want the hot pasta to start cooking the veggies!
3. Once the pasta is cooled down a bit, toss it with all the veggies and as much dressing as you feel you need. Any extra dressing will keep in the fridge for about two weeks. You can use it in a stir-fry or another salad.
4. Cover the salad and chill until ready to serve. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
*You could also use snap peas here or even frozen green peas that have been defrosted.
**The hemp hearts are totally optional but add a little protein and help give the dressing a bit of a thicker, creamier texture.
What sort of healthy things do you like for lunch? Let me know as I'm always looking for new ideas!