Spinach Walnut Pasta Salad

Serves 4

In our hangover daze from ‘90’s nutritional messages, we sometimes forget that whole-wheat is actually a fantastic protein source. Most people feel full and satisfied after eating pasta, plus it’s inexpensive, easy to cook and very affordable. Feel free to sub an alternative grain pasta (like quinoa or corn), and remember in order to keep pasta healthy, we bulk up on the vegetables! 

This pasta salad is half green salad/half pasta salad is totally customizable and makes a great takealong to the office. Make the whole recipe, but just stack the spinach on top of the dressed pasta in your tupperware. Then stir it in right before eating.

1/2 lb whole-wheat fusili pasta
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 clove of garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 5-ounce bag of baby spinach

1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. 

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, zucchini, kalamatas and walnuts.  In a mason jar, mix up dressing by combining vinegar, garlic, Dijon, olive oil and salt and pepper and shaking.

3. Toss pasta with enough dressing (you’ll have some left over).  Roughly chop the baby spinach and toss that in too and stir.  If you are taking this along for lunch, just rest the spinach on top and toss right before you eat it.  Taste and season with salt, pepper and extra vinegar.