This Gluten Free Italian Pasta Salad is a light and healthy version of Joanna Gaines’ pasta salad in the second Magnolia cookbook. It’s refreshing, delicious, and simple to make!
Last week, I was in California visiting my family. When together, my mom and I love cooking new recipes. After visiting a delicious Italian restaurant, I vowed to try cooking more Italian recipes. After all, we are both Italian!
Funny story: last Christmas, my mom and I both gifted each other the Magnolia cookbook, which is where I found Joanna Gaines’ pasta salad recipe. Last week, we decided to give it a try. But, we made a few tweaks to create a gluten free, light, and healthy version. For the original version, check out “The Magnolia Table: Vo. 2″ by Joanna Gaines. I promise, you won’t regret it!
Health Benefits of Italian Pasta Salad
Pasta salad isn’t typically considered “healthy,” but this isn’t any ordinary pasta salad! It’s actually packed with many, health-promoting ingredients, like artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, olive oil, green onion, and more. This recipe is also easy to makes swaps and substitutions. See the recipe directions below for recommendations!
To be honest, I rarely cook with or eat green onion. And, I’m not sure why because I love it! Green onions are low calorie, but rich in vitamins A and K, as well as antioxidants. And, for being such a small vegetable, they provide a ton of flavor!
Tomatoes are key to rich, delicious Italian cooking. I recommend always opting for homegrown or organic tomatoes. Not only do they taste best, but conventional tomatoes are on the “Dirty Dozen list.” Meaning, they’re often high in residual pesticides. Nutritionally, tomatoes are rich in multiple vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C. They also content high content of water, fiber, and antioxidants, like lycopene.
Artichokes are easily one of my favorite vegetables. They contain high amounts of antioxidants to fight inflammation and promote healthy detox function. They also have a healthy dose of fiber to regulate bowl movements and stabilize blood sugar.
I love the rich, unique taste of Kalamata olives, but if you’re not a fan, opt for black or green olives instead. Olives, in general, provide essential fatty acids which are necessary for optimal health. These fatty acids not only carry plenty of vitamins and minerals, but are known to promote heart health, provide energy, and protect against disease.
Olive oil has been a well-known superfood for years. But, recent studies are showing that extra virgin olive oil has significant positive impacts on the gut microbiome. Dr Sarah Ballantyne wrote an awesome post all about the health benefits of olive oil, which you can read here: “Olive Oil Redemption.”
How to Make Italian Pasta Salad
It really couldn’t be any simpler:
- Cook your favorite gluten free pasta, drain, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, chop and prep all your vegetables.
- Add all the ingredients to a large serving bowl and mix.
- Serve warm or chilled!
- 8 ounces gluten free pasta, cooked*
- 4 oz goat cheese crumbles*
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (about 4 Roma tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup halved kalamata olives*
- 1/2 cup sliced artichoke hearts
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion*
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Cook your favorite pasta. Once cooked, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Combine the tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and garlic in a small bowl. Add to the pasta bowl. Stir.
- Sprinkle the green onion and goat cheese crumbles on top.
- Serve warm or cold.
- To cool, cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Gluten free pasta: try regular pasta, if not gluten free.
Goat cheese: try feta cheese.
Kalamata olives: try black olives.
Green onion: try red onion.