Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Pescatarian BBQ... Lemon Tahini Pasta Salad

For those who may not familiar with the term... a pescatarian is a vegetarian that also eats fish and seafood. My boyfriend has decided to continue eating seafood although not eating poultry or meat and I am so pleased with that decision. Fish and seafood is not only delicious, but it is a high quality that is low in calories and has those oh-so-awesome Omega 3 fatty acids.

We fired up the charcoal grill (no gas allowed at our new apartment), which makes grilling a bit more of a production. To save time and dishes we went for MorningStar chickpea veggie burgers (were awesome BTW). I made a veggie pasta salad with lemon/tahini dressing and grilled shrimp, our homegrown summer squash, and some onions and peppers. A filling and very tasty meal!

Pasta salad often is laden with high fat mayo and is not always the healthiest choice. Make your own and use an olive-oil based salad dressing for a healthier side. Add plenty of colorful vegetables for extra fiber and crunch!  This dressing uses tahini (ground sesame seed paste) which is a source of heart healthy fats and protein, and gives the salad a Middle Eastern flair.

Lemon-Tahini Pasta Salad 
Serves 12

1 package whole wheat pasta rotini
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup bell peppers, diced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 tsp minced garlic
cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Cook pasta as directed. Set aside and let cool, about 15 minutes. Toss with vegetables and dress salad as desired. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of pasta salad
175 calories, 31 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 7 g protein, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 50 mg sodium

Portion Check: If going for the pasta salad and the burger with the bun, take a smaller portion of pasta salad to keep portions in check and go for extra veggies! Or forego the bun and and enjoy a full serving of the pasta salad.