Spicy Spinach Pasta Salad

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I’m  a big fan of salads – and that’s any type of salad. Every time I eat out, whether with my husband, family or friends (yeah, ask any of them), I make sure that I always order a bowl. Obviously (and if you know me personally), salads are my staple meals and I’m always on the hunt for the best ones.

However, there are times I really get tired of eating out. I trade cost for quality (cheap ones) or the other way around (expensive but extremely small servings) : not healthy both for my body nor my wallet. So during these times, you guessed it right – I make my own. Experimenting on healthy food is one of my favorite chores at home as it is with picking out fresh and wholesome ingredients in the market or the grocery.

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So I came up with this recipe and I found it really refreshing and very easy to prepare. The dressing is pretty straight forward too, mainly because I hate gooey or sticky dressings. I don’t get how people find salads soaked in dressings attractive, all the more healthy. It beats the purpose of having salads as something light, fresh and enlivening. I opted to mix the dressing with this salad recipe. I’ve always had this habit of having my salad dressing on the side but this time I found it lovelier to mix it in.

You might find this odd but the ingredients listed are good for one person only. Personally I’ve a hard time cutting down ingredients for just 1 person for any recipe. So I decided to give you a recipe cut down for one. Just by doubling the ingredients or whatnot, you can include serving for more. Try it at home – it just takes about 15 minutes tops!

Spinach Pasta Salad

Serves 1 

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat rotini pasta

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1/3 cup black olives, drained and sliced

1/4 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

Dressing

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1/8 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated

1 freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Boil and cook the pasta to until al dente (as per packaging instructions). Once done cooking, drain the pasta into a colander and run them into cold water for a few minutes just to cool them down. Set aside.

Tip: I usually add in a pinch of salt and a few drops of olive oil to avoid any of the pasta  sticking to each other.

For the dressing : On a pan, heat the olive oil and add in the minced garlic clove. Sauté under a low fire to avoid burning the garlic. Add in the spinach and stir fry until just wilted and tender about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice and the grated Parmesan. Mix for another 1 to 2 minutes Set aside on a different container  to cool.

Tip: I use a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients have been transferred to the other container.

For the pasta: On the pan used earlier for the dressing, add in the cooled pasta and the 2 cups of chopped spinach. Once the spinach has just wilted over about 1 to 2 minutes, turn the heat off.

Combine them! On a mixing bowl, combine the pasta with the spinach, the black olives, feta cheese and chili flakes. Add in the dressing and toss well. Adjust the taste according to your taste buds (add in salt, chili flakes or pepper if needed).

Tip: I love having this for lunch with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Enjoy!

Love and light,

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Photos were taken by the author.

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