Pasta Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette

July 9, 2013

Summer Pasta Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette & Peas

I say it here all the time. You are what you chow down. Even vegans can eat unhealthy foods that make them grumpy. Grumpiness can be avoided by limiting your sugar, increasing your good fats and avoiding the foods that ruin your mood.

A successful non-grumpy  diet includes lots of healthy fats that improve mood. Did you know sixty percent of our brain consists of fat?  Omega-3s help neuron function for better connections between brain cells.

Plant sources high in omega-3s can elevate mood and increase brainpower.

So the next time you visit grumpyville try something new, like eating  a handful of flaxseeds, walnuts, Chia seeds or some leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach.

Most importantly make sure you are avoiding the foods that make you grumpy. Here are seven examples of food that could ruin your mood.

Bagels – Bagels are full of carbs that convert to sugar. At first bagels boost a person' energy, but after a couple of hours you come crashing down looking for another fix.

 Soda – The sugar in sodas not only make you fat, but also can result in obesity and diabetes which decreases your brain volume. Decreased brain volume can lead to panic attacks and social anxiety. You can increase your brain volume by avoiding animal fats and sugar that can lead to obesity and diabetes. Studies have also shown that meditation and exercise also increase brain volume.

 Soy Yogurt – I know we usually consider this a healthy alternative, but it is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which squash the mood-boosting effects of omega-3 acids in our diet. Your brain is made out of fat and studies have shown without the right fats you're much more likely to suffer from a mood disorder. Also, check the ingredients, yogurt is loaded with sugar.

 Non-organic Celery – A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group found 57 diferent pesticides on non-organic celery!  At least 12 of these pesticides are neurotoxins, which is  science talk for a substance that poisons the brain. Neurotoxins have been linked to an increased risk of feeling depressed.

Fruit Smoothies – I know they sound healthy, but fruit juice and smoothies are hidden sources of sugar. Smoothies may have some vitamins, but the sugar in smoothies can play a major role in obesity, diabetes and depression.  Also, I never recommend drinking your calories. It doesn't satiate your appetite.

 Canned Fruits, Vegetables and Soups – There is a chemical in cans is called Bisphenol-A (or BPA) and is linked to all kinds of disorders including depression and anxiety. According to researchers at Harvard,  a can of soup can cause BPA levels to spike by as much as 1,2000%.

 Agave Nectar –Agave nectar is 55 percent fructose and fructose is a sugar that creates the same effect as a bagel. A high, a crash and a low feeling.

Now on to food. I loved this light and simple pasta salad with lemon parsley vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is a great base for the pasta and you can go to town and add whatever vegetables you love. Anything goes. Hope you enjoy this pasta salad as much as I did. Don't miss any of Ordinary Vegan's free recipes by signing up here.

Pasta Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette

Cool Summer Pasta Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • ⅜ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup packed parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Pasta Salad
  • 2 large leeks, cleaned well, ends removed, and sliced into ¼-inch slices
  • 5 stems rainbow chard, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh spring peas, blanched for 1 minute and drained
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 16-ounce package whole wheat pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans (or you can use cannellini) rinsed well
  • 2 small carrots, shredded
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the lemon parsley vinaigrette: In a saucepan over medium-heat, saute garlic, 1 teaspoon oil, and ⅛ teaspoon salt for 2-4 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent burning, until translucent. Into a food processor, add sauteed garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and blend until very well mixed, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides.
  2. For the pasta salad: In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, saute leeks, chard, peas, oil, and salt until leeks are tender and golden brown on edges and peas are cooked but still firm.
  3. Into a large bowl: Place pasta and douse with lemon parsley vinaigrette. Fold in cooked leek mixture, beans and carrots. Top with salt and pepper. Mix
  4. Serve cold or at room temperature.


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