Lightened-Up Creamy Pasta Salad Recipe

Summer is full of picnics and graduation parties and with them tasty mains and sides. From mac and cheese to fried chicken, the months you want to be eating lighter might have you eating heavier. And who wants to feel bloated when you can't layer up? I can't help you with the parties that have food already provided but I can help with any pot-luck style events, picnics or events you are hosting. One of my personal side dish favorites is a creamy pasta salad. I don't even want to think about how much fat the average recipe contains. My recipe not only cuts down on the fat, it is also gluten and dairy free and is packed with veggies. 

*Groceries for this recipe were provided by Door to Door Organics. All opinions remain my own.

I have a trick for creamy dishes that traditionally use mayo. It's called avocado. It adds a richness to the dish, regardless of what it is, and adds depth. Its density offers the illusion of creaminess without having to use as much of the fatty ingredients we're used to. It's also great for egg salad, chicken salad and tuna salad. Even people who claim to hate avocado will love this. How do I know? I live with a house full of avocado haters and not one could tell this dish included it. Avocado is an easy way to bump up the nutrition and add creaminess without the heavy condiments normally used. 

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All the ingredients used in this recipe were purchased through Door to Door Organics. Door to Door Organics is an online grocery delivery service providing produce and products from local farmers and artisans. They pride themselves in delivering fresh organic produce  that is also sustainable. For more information on Door to Door Organics and what they offer, visit my unboxing post

2 cups Field Day Organic Brown Rice Elbow Pasta
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cucumber, diced
4 oz. Sliced Black Olives
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 Avocado, mashed
2-3 tablespoons Follow Your Heart Original Vegenaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Basil Bunch, finely chopped
1 tsp Dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl mix together the mashed avocado and 2 tablespoons of Vegenaise to start. Add the veggies, mixing together to incorporate the avocado mixture well throughout the ingredients. Add drained pasta and mix well again. If the pasta salad isn't as creamy as you'd prefer, add one more tablespoon of Vegenaise and mix well.

3. Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon (about 1-2 tablespoons) and add Basil and Dill, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and serve chilled. 

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7-10 minutes
Total Time: 27-30 minutes

What is your favorite summer side recipe? What are some tricks that you have for lightening things up? Visit Door to Door Organics website to see if they deliver to your zip code and start shopping today!