I wanted to make a healthier pasta salad, and even though pasta isn’t a low-cal food usually, the calories in the rest of the ingredients could pared down. I had a craving and I’d try to make smart choices.. In my fridge I had leftover roast turkey and a bunch of asparagus and some leftover Spanish black olives. It was going to be a healthy pasta salad made of leftovers.
Well, as healthy as you can get still using pasta. I know it’s frowned upon by those who are following low carb or gluten-free diets. You could substitute any other pastas of your choice; I chose to use radiatorre because as usual, it was the box nearest to the front of the cupboard I can barely reach.
I started by bringing a pot of salted water to boil then cooking the pasta as directed for al dente on the box. The last 2 minutes I threw in my cut up asparagus to get a sort of blanching effect. I didn’t want it mushy, just slightly cooked so that it would still have a nice texture and color.
When the pasta and asparagus was done I drained them and put them into a large bowl.
In the meantime I’d been pulling things out of the fridge to use in my leftover salad. I had about a cup of red sweet bell pepper that I diced up and added to the bowl. That’s always great for color as well as the crisp, sweet flavor. I used 2 ribs of celery and sliced it up fairly fine. I don’t like big chunks of celery in anything. The Spanish olives were leftover from a recipe earlier in the week and I chopped them up a little to make them stretch further throughout the salad.
Seeing the container of grape tomatoes, I detoured and used them instead of the Romas I’d been about to dice up. I love the little burst of flavor grape tomatoes provide in salads or just plain. Perfect for my salad! I cut them in half and added them to the bowl.
I used white breast meat from the container of leftover roast turkey. We roast the turkey in a bag, breast side down in the roasting pan. The breast ends up so moist! Then I take all of the meat off the bones and put dark and light on separate sides of my storage container. My P.S. (Poultry Snacker/hubby) makes sandwiches from the dark side, mine are from the white side.
We’re still trying to avoid mayo, so I only used a cup in the dressing and added Greek yogurt and sour cream for volume. I added some seasonings, a glug of white vinegar, and stirred well.
I added the dressing to the bowl and stirred until it was evenly incorporated. I tasted for seasoning and added a little more salt and pepper. It’s always difficult to know if the seasoning is correct because after it sets overnight the seasonings are absorbed into the pasta and it may need more. It may even be a bit dry and I add a splash of milk to hydrate the salad again.
My rule of thumb on pasta and potato salads is that it needs to be slightly salty tasting when first made. Then it’s usually mellowed out the second day when served. To be sure, simply taste test before serving, adding more if desired.
We liked the blending of flavors we normally don’t eat together in a salad. We don’t often use turkey in them and this was a good salad for that. The asparagus and turkey were a good combo and the lightness from using less mayo and more Greek yogurt was noticeable. The salad lasted several days and was perfect for lunch all on its own.
Turkey Pasta Salad
1 box radiatorre
1 cup asparagus; cut into 1″ pieces
1 sweet red pepper; diced
1/2 cup spanish black olives; roughly chopped
2 ribs celery; sliced
1-2 cups diced roast turkey
1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes; halved
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
Prepare pasta according to box directions, putting asparagus into the pot 2 minutes before the pasta is done to blanch it. Drain and place in large mixing bowl.
Add remaining veggies to the bowl.
Mix together rest of ingredients in a separate bowl until smooth. Stir into pasta and veggies and refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight. Taste for seasoning before serving.