Healthy Pasta Salad Recipe With Spinach, Apple & Cranberries: Refreshing, Light & Delicious by Jan Mostrom
This pasta salad recipe came from Aunt Nanci, so in our house we call it Nanci's salad. This healthy, refreshing spinach salad is so delicious and light, but still fills you up.
Because we now have some plant-based eaters in the house, if we want chicken in it we just put it on the side. And we almost always add some homemade bread to round out the meal (try my no-knead French bread recipe). Kids and adults love the combination of the crunchy apples and sweet cranberries. (They won't even notice they are getting the spinach in with every bite!)
For this wholesome salad you'll need apples, dried cranberries, baby spinach, pasta of choice, good balsamic vinegar, vegetable oil and agave, honey or other sweetener. Cooked chicken makes it even heartier and add cashews if you want even more crunch. Serve this delicious spinach apple pasta salad for lunch or as a main dish salad for dinner, or as a side dish.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes (if cooking chicken breasts)
Total Time: 40 minutes (if adding chicken)
Servings: 6 for dinner and 8 to 10 as a side dish
- 2 large apples, peeled (or not) and cut into bite-size pieces
- 6 ounces pasta (we love chickpea, especially when not having chicken)
- 6 ounces baby spinach, stemmed
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- honey roasted or plain cashews (optional)
- cooked shredded chicken (optional)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt or garlic salt
- dash of agave or honey (to taste)
Here's how to make it:
- Fill a medium pot to 3/4 full and boil the water. Add pasta and cook as directed on the package. I like my pasta on the firm side, especially if it's gluten free. Pay attention and don't overcook!
- While the pasta is cooking add spinach, apple pieces and cranberries to a large bowl.
- When pasta is finished drain well and add to the bowl. If desired add cooked chicken.
- Mix oil, balsamic, celery or garlic salt and sweetener into a small jar and shake thoroughly. Add as much dressing as you like to the salad and toss to coat. Serve and top with raw or honey toasted cashews.
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