Looking for a cucumber tomato pasta salad recipe? Look no further! This recipe is a great way to get in some extra veggies in a delicious way.
Ingredients for Pasta Salad
Before making this recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients you need on hand. You don’t want to miss out on any of these ingredients!
- Pasta: any shape is fine, can you whole wheat to boost the nutrient content
- Cucumber: I used english cucumber
- Grape or cherry tomatoes: either one works fine
- Kalamata olives: can use black olives, but I prefer kalamata
- Mozzarella: make sure to get the balls, not shredded
- Italian dressing: store bought or homemade
For the dressing, there is an option to make it homemade (which is much better by the way). If you choose to do so, here are the ingredients.
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Cane sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
Is this recipe healthy?
Everyone has a different definition of healthy. Some believe healthy means low calorie, others believe healthy food must exclude certain “harmful” ingredients.
As a dietitian, I define healthy as “nutrient dense”, meaning it contains a wide variety of essential nutrients. Typically recipes which include mostly nutrient dense ingredients like fruits, vegetables, grains, lean proteins and dairy products, would be defined as healthy in my book.
So, by that definition, I would consider this recipe healthy. It contains a variety of vegetables and a salad dressing with an olive oil base (which is better for heart health compared to a mayonnaise based dressing).
If you want to make this recipe even healthier, you can swap the white pasta with whole wheat pasta. That being said, I find whole wheat pasta doesn’t do as well when cooled (something about the texture is off), which is why I use white pasta.
Can you lose weight eating pasta salad?
Absolutely. There is a myth out on the internet that there are certain foods you can’t eat if you want to lose weight. This simply isn’t true.
If you want to lose weight, you will need to consume less calories than you expend daily. This sounds simple, but it’s incredibly difficult to do for most.
Some find it easier to focus mostly on foods with a high protein, water or fiber intake. These foods will help you stay fuller for longer and may help with weight loss (though they don’t cause weight loss by themselves).
While the pasta in this recipe is low in fiber and protein, adding water and fiber rich foods like cucumber and tomatoes help bulk up the meal without additional calories. Plus, the fats in the mozzarella cheese, olives and dressing can help you stay full.
To make this cucumber and tomato pasta salad even more satiating, add some shredded chicken or tuna. This will boost the protein content and make it even more filling.
What other vegetables can I add to this recipe?
There are plenty of other vegetables you can add to this recipe to make it even better. Here are a few examples of great add-ins:
- Bell pepper
- Green beans
Is store bought or homemade dressing better for you?
Typically, making salad dressing at home is the best option. That being said, there is nothing inherently “bad” about store bought dressing.
Often buying a dressing at the store is more convenient. If you don’t have a lot of time to cook there is nothing wrong with purchasing a dressing at the store.
Pasta Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Mozzarella
- 2 cups dry pasta any shape
- 1/2 english cucumber
- 1 cup tomatoes grape or cherry
- 2 oz kalamata olives about 20 olives
- 2 oz mozzarella fresh
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp cane sugar
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool.
- Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, olives and mozzarella into bite size pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl combine pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and mozzarella. Fold together until combined.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine salad dressing ingredients. Stir until combined.
- Add dressing to large mixing bowl and toss together. Enjoy!