If you’re like me, there’s something that happens during the dinner hour that feels like magic. I might have a new recipe I’m excited to try or perhaps I’ve planned on a tried-and-true favorite. I may just feel excited because I have all the ingredients for a particular recipe (sometimes a major feat). The ingredients get washed and ready to be transformed into something delicious. I wipe down my counters, turn on some music and start on our meal. I might get interrupted during the process or feel short on time but for the most part, preparing nutritious food feels therapeutic.
I didn’t always feel like the kitchen was a space for therapy but I’ve figured out my rhythm. I have discovered what ingredients and spices are our favorites – making meal planning more fun. One favorite type of cuisine for my family is Asian inspired foods. Foods with lots of ginger, oranges, fresh garlic and soy flavors are always delicious.
A friend shared this recipe with me several months ago. I loved it and knew my family would love it. But when I began looking for a teriyaki sauce called for by the recipe, I quickly discovered it was difficult to find store bought products without sugars, MSG or other unhealthy ingredients. Although the recipe was delicious as written, I made a few tweaks to make this pasta salad even more nutritious. You’ll know exactly what you’re eating with this recipe! I like to use gluten-free penne and I added two different nuts for extra protein and healthy fats. The dressing is a soy-free, vegan teriyaki dressing loaded with cleansing ingredients like raw garlic, onion powder and fresh ginger. It’s so delicious, be warned you might be tempted to drink the stuff!
Half the battle for eating nutritiously is finding foods that you and your family enjoy. Pasta creates a hearty meal so it’s easy to sneak in those dark leafy greens for picky eaters. Pour this sugar-free dressing on and it makes this salad irresistible! This is a great recipe to prepare for busy nights and easy to adapt (throw in cooked salmon for more flavor and protein). It’s invigorating to create healthy, nourishing meals. It’s even better enjoying those meals with the people you love. I hope this pasta helps you do just that.
Healthy Teriyaki Pasta Salad
1/4 cup Liquid Amino Acids
3 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Orange Juice
3 Tablespoons Grape or Olive Oil
1/4 cup Coconut Sugar + 1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
2 heaping teaspoons grated Fresh Ginger (please use fresh!)
2 medium Garlic Cloves, minced + 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/16 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt and Pepper
2.5 Tablespoons Corn Starch or Arrow Root Powder
In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Using an immersion blender, blend the dressing until the garlic and ginger are well combined into the mixture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a magic bullet or smoothie blender or just mince the garlic and ginger as finely as you can and whisk well.
12 ounces Penne Pasta (Use GF if you’d like!)
5 cups Mixed Baby Kale and Spinach, washed and dried
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Pine Nuts
1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds
3 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
2 Large Oranges, peeled and sliced into small wedges
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, stir with a touch of olive oil and set aside to cool.
In a large salad bowl, add the washed greens. Toss with the cooled pasta and all the salad ingredients. Top with the dressing and serve. If not eating right away, please reserve dressing until serving. Store any leftovers for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Recipe adapted from this Mandarine Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Dressing