Low-Cal Pasta Salad

Low-Cal Pasta Salad - simply fresh dinners

If you’re looking to make a cost effective meal, there is always the old reliable pasta salad.  Problem is that most recipes for pasta salad include mayonnaise, cream or a abundance of cheese.  No need for all of that! You can make a tasty, low fat, pasta salad that uses up all the leftover veggies in your fridge and if you want to turn it into a main course, just add some chicken or shrimp.

Low-Cal Pasta Salad - simply fresh dinners

The key is the dressing.  I use this dressing on many salads and it has a nice little bite to it that I think you’ll enjoy.  If you don’t like a sharp taste in your salads, add a titch of honey and you’ll fall in love.

If you’re wanting to keep it even healthier, use whole wheat, 100 % durum semolina or rice.

People think of pasta salad only in the summer but I think any time of year is just fine.

If you’re really in a rush, pick up a rotisserie chicken on the way home from work and let the kids help with the preparation of the salad.  Quick, easy and a crowd pleaser.  I’d love to know what kind of salads you make.  Have a great week, everyone.  Cheers!

I am sharing this recipe with these fun bloggers.

Low-Cal Pasta Salad - simply fresh dinners



Low Cal Pasta Salad
Author: Robyn @ simplyfreshdinners.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 1.5 cups pasta (rice, whole wheat preferred)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 8 ounce jar of artichoke hearts (chopped)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
  • large handful of green beans, rinse, ends cut
  • 16 cherry tomatoes (I used reds and yellows)
  • 1/4 cup olives
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • pinch of oregano
  • squirt of honey (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente.
  2. Steam broccoli and green beans.
  3. Combine broccoli, green beans, artichoke hearts, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, olives and basil in a large bowl.
  4. Combine all of the dressing ingredients and mix well. Drizzle dressing slowly over vegetables and pasta, tossing lightly. (You probably won’t use all of it so go slow and taste).
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley or basil.
Calories: 171

Low Cal Pasta Salad | Simply Fresh Dinners


  • Reply
    Anita Rivera
    February 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Doesn’t that look fantastic! I can eat pasta any time of the year, but this is going to be a refreshing change for summer. Hi Robyn! Anita

    • Reply
      February 24, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Thanks so much, Anita. I think I could eat pasta every day, lol. Thank goodness they came up with a rice pasta. Have a great week.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Nice change for the dressing Robyn. I love pasta salad and this looks perfectly. I like the fact, you can use leftovers or pick up a rotisserie chicken. Love ya girlfriend.

    • Reply
      February 24, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Thanks, Linda. I really enjoy this dressing and use it a lot. It’s simple and not full of preservatives. Love you, too. Have a great week

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Pasta perfection! I love every. single. ingredient. in this salad – can’t wait to make it. Our vegetarian daughter will love it too. Yay – off to pin it so I have the receipe handy : )

    • Reply
      February 24, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Awwwhh, you are too sweet, Mindy! Your comments always start my day off so wonderfully. Thanks for the pin, too!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Mmm… It’s almost lunch time here and I now have a craving for this pasta salad! Thanks for sharing such yummy and nutritious recipes – you’re the best! Hugs

    • Reply
      February 27, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Thanks, Stephanie! Next is spring time recipes – I can’t wait any longer! lol. Hope you’re having a great day.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I love pasta salad and all the different things that can go in it! Love the use of the white balsamic! Checking this out from the view from 510 link party and pinned this fabulous recipe! 🙂

    • Reply
      February 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Hi Cathy,
      Yes, I love the versatility of pasta salad too – great for using up leftover veggies. You can use any type of balsamic vinegar but I didn’t want to change the colour of the pasta. Thanks for the pinnage!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Such a tasty, colourful, lovely salad! The honey touch seems to make all the difference.
    Thank you again for sharing, my sweet friend.

    • Reply
      February 27, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Thanks, Nina. Yes, I like the honey most times, too. Nice to see you. ox

  • Reply
    Abbe @ Abbe's Cooking Antics
    February 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I LOVE balsamic vinegar in salad dressings – I stick it on “salad salads” all the time, hadn’t thought to use it on a pasta salad. I’m going to be trying your dressing for sure – I need to do something healthy… I’ve just eaten two packets of cookies!!!!

    • Reply
      February 27, 2014 at 11:14 am

      And I’m eating banana bread this morning! haha – we’re out of control!
      Thanks for visiting, Abbe.

  • Reply
    Jennie @ The Diary of a Real housewife
    February 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Yum this looks good! I love pasta salad! I am hosting a giveaway on my page this week (posted Monday) and I would love if you would stop by and check it out!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 10:41 am

    This sounds delicious and does make me thing of Spring! I have some fresh broccolini from my garden, I’ll give it a try! Thanks for sharing 😉


    • Reply
      February 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thanks, Cindy. You’re way ahead of the me – still have snow on the ground, lol. Thanks for popping by.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I couldn’t find pictures of the kitchen you cook all those delicious recipes in. On the bright side, I found a great salad recipe, which is great for me who often eats between schools in a hurry at lunch!

    • Reply
      March 2, 2014 at 5:41 am

      Hi Magali,
      Oh, I haven’t included pics of that renovation on here. I no longer live in that house but I suppose I should just for the fun of it. Thanks for the idea!
      And thank you for coming to visit from your beautiful blog! So glad you liked the salad.
      Hope you’re having a great weekend.

  • Reply
    Miz Helen
    February 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Robyn, your Low Cal Pasta Salad looks so pretty and delicious I could just reach right through this screen and have that bowl of salad. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    • Reply
      March 2, 2014 at 5:42 am

      Thanks, Miz Helen, your comment made my morning. I’m up at 5:30 am so that’s saying a lot! lol. I always enjoy your parties – see you Thursday.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2014 at 2:08 am

    I love Pasta Salad but very rarely have it other than in the summer – will need to change that! Thanks for sharing and linking up with us at the #WWDParty!

    • Reply
      March 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      I used to eat in the summer too, Antoinette, but I’m trying to convince myself that the warm weather is here, lol. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Robyn! I’m stopping in from Let’s Get Real today. Your pasta salad looks great. I love the lighter dressing. You are right………..I think of pasta salad during the summer, but not as much during the winter. I’ll have to add this to my meal plan right away. It would certainly be something different for us. I’m so done with winter! I think I’m going to start eating like it’s summer. LOL!

    • Reply
      March 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      LOL, That’s what I’m doing, Christina! I’ve been buying up spring and summer veggies and cooking up a storm! Thanks so much for your visit.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Looks absolutely delicious! I love tomatoes of all kind, so this looks right up my alley. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Do Tell Tuesday, and I hope you have a chance to link up again this week! http://www.vintagezest.com/2014/03/do-tell-tuesday-13-with-features-co-host.html

    Diane @ Vintage Zest

  • Reply
    Steph @ Crafting in the Rain
    March 5, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Looks beautiful and delicious!

    • Reply
      March 5, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks, Steph, and thanks for stopping by. Off to visit your blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Gaye @CalmHealthySexy
    March 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    This looks delicious. I’m ready for warm weather to get here so we can start enjoying salads! Thanks for linking up with the Let’s Get Real party. We hope you’ll join us again this week.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks, Gaye! Always a pleasure to link up with you ladies. Hope you’re having a great week.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    This looks so good! I could go for it right now! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

    • Reply
      March 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      LOL, well, it only takes a few minutes to make, Kathy! Thanks for popping by.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    This looks so yummy! I really enjoy lighter pasta salads, especially those with balsamic vinegar. I haven’tr tried he white balsamic though. I’m stopping by from the Let’s Get Real Friday Link Party. Thanks so much for joining us this week.

    • Reply
      March 6, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks so much, Nicky! I like them too because they are filling without that heavy feeling. Always fun to join up with your party!

  • Reply
    March 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I am always looking for a new “good for you” salad! This looks delicious and I love my veggies, I will be making this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      March 7, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Thanks, Rhonda, and thanks for visiting. Good luck with your new blog adventures!

  • Reply
    Jen @ YummyHealthyEasy
    March 7, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    This sounds so fresh and delicious! My family loves pasta salad, I’ll have to try your recipe for sure! Thanks for sharing on Saturday Night Fever – pinning now! Hope to see you back tomorrow!

    • Reply
      March 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Thanks so much for the pin, Jen! Always a pleasure to party with the Saturday Night Ladies!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    What a great pasta salad! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

    • Reply
      March 8, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Thanks so much, Karly, and thanks for visiting.

  • Reply
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