Hi my loves!
Cheers to the freakin’ weekend & WHILE WE’RE AT IT, cheers to the SITCH IN MY KITCH THIS MORNING.
What is it, you ask? MUNCHKINS, this is my take on a HEALTHY-AF GREEK PASTA SALAD IN A CREAMY-AF YOGURT DRESSING… woah. Just woah!
Do you see what I did there? Yep. You know that half tub of mayo that goes in to like EVERY SINGLE PASTA SALAD OUT THERE? (Who am I kidding? THAT ENTIRE TUB), yeah, well I subbed it for some protein-packed, less-fat, deliciously creamy ORGANIC PROBIOTIC GREEK YOGURT!
And… YOU WOULD NEVER EVEN KNOW. I mean, now you know, but serve it to your guests & well… BEST HOST/HOSTESS STATUS ATTAINED INSTANTLY. TRUST ME.
Let me tease you munchkins a bit about the ingredients in this baby. Sorry NOT sorry! I’m talkin’:
DURUM WHOLE WHEAT PASTA (I’m about to go on a rant away about what this is & what its benefits are. I WARNED YOU!)
Organic feta cheese cubes!
GREEK YOGURT (OBVS!)
A wee bit of organic extra-virgin olive oil!
Freshly squeezed lemon juice!
SPICES FOR DAYS… I mean… HAVE YOU MET ME? DILL, OREGANO, GARLIC POWDER (Mmmm. That garlic breath, though!) & SEA SALT!
Ladies & gents, this is my Healthy-AF Durum Whole-Wheat Greek Pasta Salad Tossed in a Creamy Greek Yogurt Dressing a.k.a. Pasta-Salad-Goals-Sans-Mayo-Sans-Fat-Sans-Guilt-&-Full-Of-Goodness-Oops-I-Mean-Greek-Goddessness!
Please, do try to show me a recipe for a healthier & cleaner pasta salad. Good FREAKING luck! It ain’t gonna happen.
IN A NUTSHELL, this babe will give you everything & I mean, EVERYTHING, you need in a meal. I’m talkin’ THAT…
THE GOOD-FOR-YOU FATS!
FIBRE, FIBRE, FIBRE & MORE FIBRE!!!
LOADS OF VITAMINS & MINERALS FROM THE VEGGIES!
& WELL… WHAT’S A MEAL WITHOUT SPICES FOR DAYS? Yep. Yep. NADA.
Anywho babies, I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS BABE WITH YOU. I guarantee (yes, I did say, guarantee) she will become a classic. SIMPLE, EASY, QUICK, DELICIOUS, NUTRIENT & VITAMIN PACKED, SHE MAKES FOR THE PERFECT MEAL THAT QUITE FRANKLY, YOU SIMPLY CANNOT GO WRONG WITH!
BEFORE WE GET INTO THE NITTY-GRITTY… there are two million dollar questions that we need to address STAT.
What in earth’s mind is DURUM WHOLE-WHEAT, right & WHAT ARE ITS BENEFITS?
Okay fine, I guess that’s like one question, or two, OR A TWO-IN-ONE, A TWO-FOR-ONE? Anyway, you catch my drift. LET ME EXPLAIN.
Durum wheat is actually the hardest & densest variety of wheat with a higher protein & gluten content THAN ANY OTHER KIND OF WHEAT. AND, whole wheat of any variety is wheat that contains ALL THREE parts of the wheat grain, ergo the germ, bran & endosperm. AND, as you munchkins probably already know, WHOLE WHEAT ANYTHING IS MORE NUTRITIOUS THAN ITS REFINED COUNTERPARTS because it contains the nutrient-rich germ & bran that are stripped away during the refining process.
OKAY, so now we know that durum is high in protein, gluten & that when durum is whole wheat, IT’S A PLUS, because it has NOT BEEN REFINED & has NOT been stripped of its germ & bran! BUT WHAT ARE ITS OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS?
Durum wheat is a rich source of many important nutrients, such as fibre, vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, other minerals & ZERO IN FAT SATURATED & TRANS FAT. It is also super low in cholesterol & sodium. Therefore, adding more durum wheat to your diet provides you with a more balanced nutrient intake.
Durum wheat flour is rich in B-complex vitamins, especially FOLATE & THIAMINE, both of which are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes & liver. ALSO, sufficient vitamin B-complex intake is CRUCIAL to support our metabolism & energy production. And if we want to get really nitty-gritty & specific, THIAMINE actually helps maintain brain & nervous system health, while FOLATE supports the regeneration of red blood cells in our bods! And percentage-wise? A serving of durum wheat will actually provide 25% & 30% of the RDV of folate & thiamine, respectively!
So, LOAD UP ON THIS PASTA SALAD & SAY HELLO TO GORG HAIR & SKIN (Free skincare, FTW. Bye Sephora!), perfect eyesight, a healthy-AF liver (NOPE, this isn’t an excuse for you to drink like a maniac this Grand-Prix weekend), a GOOD FREAKING METABOLISM, LOADS OF ENERGY & BEING A SMARTY-PANTS!
NOT ONLY IS DURUM RICH IN THEM B-COMPLEX VITAMINS, but also she’s rich in selenium & iron!
SELENIUM actually acts as an antioxidant in our bods to prevent harmful oxidation damage of our cell membranes & DNA, strengthens our immune systems to prevent infection.
& IRON is beneficial for blood cell regeneration ^ circulation & sufficient iron can actually help prevent iron inefficiency & anemia!
DURUM WHEAT CAN HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS! How so? Wait, first of all, admit you’re INTO IT NOW. Products made from durum flour are digested slowly, ergo this helps you feel full longer & prevents you from overeating! In fact, when compared to eating white bread (a fast digestible starch which will be rapidly emptied from your stomach, digested & absorbed in your blood stream), durum pasta will stay in your GI tract for a longer time & has an overall slower digestion time.
DURUM HAS A LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX, which means durum wheat products are a top choice for people with diabetes!!! In fact, when compared to refined white flour, as mentioned above, durum is digested & absorbed at a SLOWER RATE, which in turn, helps reduce the blood glucose surge after a meal & allows those with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels more effectively.
DURUM FLOUR CAN IMPROVE HEART HEALTH. In fact, the babe contains potassium & low in sodium! And, we all know how important potassium is in supporting heart function, as it is what maintains a normal electrolyte balance between cells & body fluid & keeps the heart beating at a normal rhythm by lowering blood pressure! The potassium content of this babe combined with its selenium content protects our heart from infections!
AND, in connection with that potassium to sodium level… THIS IS CRUCIAL IN KEEPING OUR KIDNEYS HEALTHY & PREVENTING CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE. In fact, our diets are actually very frequently high in sodium & low in potassium due to excessive SALT INTAKE. In order to prevent low & dipping potassium levels, it is crucial for us to increase our dietary intake of whole & potassium-rich food! AND SO, thanks to its potassium content, DURUM FLOUR WILL DO JUST THAT – it will keep your potassium levels in check & maintain kidney health.
DURUM WHEAT IS ALSO A GOOD SOURCE OF CALCIUM & MAGNESIUM! And, BOTH these minerals have a large presence in our bones. In fact, calcium increases bone density while magnesium assures the strength & firmness of the bone & is necessary for nerve conduction & electrolyte balances of the nervous system!
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, DURUM FLOUR KEEPS THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALTHY. In fact, the babe is coarse & fibre-rich! Its soluble fibre content specifically helps slow digestion!
OKAY, RANT OVER. I’M DONE! FINALLY. Admit you’re happy. But, admit you also learned a thing or two about durum! OKAY, HERE WE GO!
My loves, YOU WILL NEED:
- 8 oz. of organic durum whole-wheat penne, BOILED ACCORDING TO PACKAGE DIRECITONS (A.K.A. AL DENTÉ);
- 1 medium cucumber or 2 small cucumbers, SLICED FINELY;
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, QUARTERED;
- 1 medium red onion, SLICED FINELY;
- 5-6 artichoke hearts, CHOPPED;
- ½ cup of organic feta cheese, CUBED;
- OPTIONAL: ¼ to ½ cup of Kalamata olives, SLICED;
- ¾ cup of organic 2% Greek yogurt;
- 2 tbsp. of organic extra-virgin olive oil;
- 3 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice;
- 1 tsp. of garlic powder;
- 1 tsp. of dill;
- 2 tsp. of dried oregano;
- ½ tsp. of organic sea salt;
- Freshly ground black pepper for garnish! (+ some chilli flakes if you want to add some spice!).
OKAY, but tell me, does it get any cleaner than this? I mean… yes, it’s still a pasta salad, BUT IT’S THE HEALTHIEST VERSION I COULD COME UP WITH. What do you munchkins think? Not bad, right?
- FOR STARTERS, boil your pasta according to the package directions! My loves, we’ve been through this time & time again SO I don’t think I need to tell you but your pasta should ALWAYS & I mean, ALWAYS, be boiled al denté!!!!!
- While your pasta is boiling, combine the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, artichoke hearts, feta & olives (if adding) in a large mixing bowl!
- When your pasta is ready, A.K.A. WHEN IT’S AL DENTÉ & NOT ONE SECOND MORE, rinse & strain it under cold water & allow it to cool for about 10 minutes!
- Once cooled, combine the pasta with the rest of your RAINBOW OF VEGGIES!!!
- AND NOW, THE FUN PART. THE BEST PART. THE DRESSING PART. ‘Cause I mean, let’s be honest, what’s a pasta salad without a creamy-AF dressing, right? OH AND, ONE THAT’S FREAKING GOOD FOR YOU TOO? Two birds, one stone. LISTEN UP! Add your Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice & all ‘dem spices to your bowl.
- Now, STUFFFFF’S ABOUT TO GET REAL HERE. TOSS THE EFF OUT OF YOUR PASTA SALAD UNTIL ALL YOUR PENNE & VEGGIES ARE EVENLY COATED IN THIS BEAUTIFUL RICH, CREAMY, SMOOTH, INDULGENT, BUT CLEAN & GOOD-FOR-YOU DRESSING. (My loves, I’ve told you time & time again not to make your veggies jelly of one another & this is one of those MAJOR SITCHS. THIS DRESSING IS SO FREAKING GOOD THAT LIKE, YOU JUST CANNOT & I MEAN, CANNOT, DEPRIVE ONE LITTLE POOR VEGGIE OF AN INCH OF IT. It would just be totally, completely & utterly UNFAIR!
- Serve immediately or refrigerate the babe for MAX 2-3 days!!!! TBH, this is another sitch of one of those salads that is EVEN BETTER after she’s had some “fridge time!!!” BUT, because I used organic Greek yogurt & NEED I REMIND YOU THAT I DID NOT USE FULL-OF-PRESERVATIVE-MAYO, DON’T try keeping this babe for like a week or anything! But LET’S BE HONEST, SHE WON’T LAST THAT LONG ANYWAYS! You’ll see. Don’t believe me? ONCE AGAIN, TRY ME!!
- OKAY BABIES, IT’S THAT TIME!!! … DEVOUR!!!!
OH & FOOD PORN!!!