Easy and Healthy Pasta Salad
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Originally Published in May 2015

Last weekend I turned 30 (old lady now…) so we thought we would do a beach party on Saturday to celebrate. So of course I wanted to make some nutritious and delicious food to bring. I had to think of something I could keep cold in a cooler and that would be refreshing and not too messy or complicated. Pasta salad seemed to be an easy solution…so my recipe for sweet potato pasta salad was born!

I used whole grains (good carbs for sustained energy and fiber), olive oil (good fat, anti-inflammatory properties), and fresh veggies (lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals). I was able to keep it in a large aluminum tray in the cooler and it did stay cool until we were ready to eat. I also made a fruit salad to bring because it is super easy to just chop up some melons, grapes and strawberries….and who doesn’t love cool, fresh fruit on a hot day? Plus…it has a ton of nutrients and can help keep you hydrated. My pasta salad turned out really delicious and fed about 16-20 people so keep that in mind when you see the large amounts of ingredients.

Sweet Potato Pasta Salad

Sweet Potato Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

32 oz Dry Whole Grain Pasta (I used Brown Rice Pasta to make it Gluten Free)

2 Large Sweet Potatoes

1 Head of Broccoli

4 Large Tomatoes

1- Fresh 8 oz Bag of Baby Spinach

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3/4 Cup Champagne or White Wine Vinegar

Juice from 2 Lemons

1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Sugar

Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions in a very large pot.
  • While pasta is cooking, clean off sweet potatoes and poke several holes through the skin with a fork. Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through.
  • Rinse broccoli and tomatoes and start chopping into pieces while sweet potatoes and pasta are cooking.
  • Remove sweet potatoes (be careful they will be very hot) and let cool.
  • Put chopped broccoli in the microwave on a microwave safe plate on high for 2 minutes…but only if you are like me and prefer your broccoli to be slightly cooked but still firm and crunchy. If you prefer it raw you can skip that step.
  • By now your pasta should be done cooking; drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking and add to your aluminum tray or serving dish.
  • Add the bag of spinach to the warm pot you just removed the pasta from and put back on burner on low heat stirring occasionally to warm and wilt spinach until it shrinks to about half.
  • Add warm spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes to pasta.
  • If your sweet potatoes are cool enough, peel off the skin and chop into bite size squares. If they still feel hot please be patient and let them cool down more… you can get burned by hot potato steam. The potatoes should peel very easily with a knife now that they are cooked.
  • Add the sweet potato pieces to the pasta mixture.
  • Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and sugar in a small bowl and pour over pasta. Mix well and add ground black pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate until ready to eat, can be made the day before.

Healthy, Sweet Potato Pasta Salad, Whole Grain, Easy

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This scalloped sweet potato casserole is made with only 5 ingredients. It is also vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and nut free so everyone shold be able to enjoy!
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Sweet potatoes are an essential part of any Thanksgiving feast. They are hearty, sweet, full of important nutrients and you can do a lot of different things with them. For Thanksgiving though, I prefer to either just roast them or do some sort of sweet potato casserole. Nothing too complicated, as I don’t want to cover them up with 1,000 different ingredients or spend hours in the kitchen on 1 side dish. Plus, I’d much rather also have time to make dessert. Any one else with me? So today, I want to share with you a simple, but elegant and tasty, scalloped sweet potato casserole recipe with only 5 ingredients.

I actually first made this scalloped sweet potato casserole last year when I wanted to make sure my almost 11 month old daughter had something that I knew she would and could eat at a Friendsgiving we went to. I love honey but since she wasn’t yet a year old we went with just a touch of maple syrup to lightly sweeten this casserole. In my pictures you can see I left the skin on the sweet potatoes but when I first made it for Friendsgiving I peeled it off because … babies.

Anyways, this scalloped sweet potato casserole is pretty easy and foolproof. Slicing the sweet potatoes took the longest amount of time and effort but once that was done it only took a few minutes to put together.

First, I rinsed and scrubbed all the sweet potatoes. If desired, you could peel them here, or be lazy like me and leave the skins on to save time. (My daughter who is now almost 2 still won’t eat the skins but I just peel them off the pieces on her plate when serving her)

Then, I sliced them up into circles with a mandolin. If you are need of one, this is the one I have: 

OXO 1155700 Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer, Set of 1 White (amazon affiliate link – I may receive a percentage of the sale at no cost to you)

 

 

 

This gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegan, scalloped sweet potato casserole is so simple and only 5 ingredients

 

Next, I mixed the remained ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

Then, I sprayed a roasting pan with cooking spray and started laying down the sweet potato circles like shingles.

Free of the common allergens, this vegan scalloped sweet potato casserole is perfect for gatherings of friends and family

Then I brushed the sweet potatoes with the oil, syrup, and spices mixture.

 

This vegan scalloped sweet potato casserole is free from the most common allergens and is perfect for your next gathering of family and friends

Added another sweet potato layer and brushed with the liquid mixture. And then another layer and brushed until all the sweet potatoes were used. After brushing the top layer I drizzled whatever oil/syrup was left over the casserole.

Finally, I baked in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

These scalloped sweet potatoes are perfect for any family gathering or feast. Made with only 5 ingredients and free of the top allergens, anyone can enjoy them.

Just be aware that the top layer will be a little crispier and the bottom layer will be softer.

Remove from oven and enjoy!

 

Scalloped Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients
8 Sweet Potatoes (about 6 pounds)
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Rinse off and scrub sweet potatoes well. Peel if desired but not necessary.
3. Slice sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch circles with a mandolin.
4. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
5. Spray a deep roasting pan with cooking spray and start lining the bottom with potato circles, overlapping like shingles.
6. After you put down the first sweet potato layer use a brush to brush oil and syrup mixture.
7. Continue adding layers and brushing. If you have extra oil mixture at the end just drizzle it over the top after brushing.
8. Cook in oven for 45-60 minutes or until potatoes reach desired softness – keep in mind the potatoes on the bottom will get softer than those on the top.
9. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!

 

This scalloped sweet potato casserole is free of the common allergens, vegan, and made with only 5 ingredients

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These gluten free mango muffins can also be made into mango bread or vegan!
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Mangoes…or is it Mangos? Either way, I think one of my favorite parts of early summer is all the mango everywhere down here in south florida. My number 1 favorite thing about summer though has gotta be the lighter traffic. I’m sorry mangoes but 30 minutes less of my commute each day is something that you just can’t buy.

Anyways, you are probably here to read about food and not Miami traffic, so back to the mangoes. I love experimenting with different ways to use them, and since they are plentiful this time of year, if I mess up and make something weird I can totally start over and try again. Topping fish with a fresh mango avocado salsa or adding some mango to rice like in the Coconut Mango Rice from my last post really just adds a summery freshness to things.
These gluten free mango muffins can also be made into mango bread or vegan!
So I have been wanting to make mango muffins for awhile. I didn’t want them to be super sweet though, so I could eat them for breakfast without getting a tummy ache… and they needed to be gluten free so I can eat them, cause watching other people eat food that you made but can’t enjoy is just silly. I have had a lot of success with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, and like that it has some bean flours in it for extra fiber and nutrients, so I went with that and just 1/4 cup of honey and they turned out great!

After I was done perfecting my gluten free mango muffins, I also wanted to try making the batter into a mango bread. But when I went to make the bread I realized that someone (Baby V) had been extra hungry and was eating two eggs at breakfast that week instead of her normal one and I did not have any eggs left. Luckily I remembered I had bought some ground flaxseeds to help get someone to poop (Baby V, again) and so I was able to substitute them in for the eggs. I then decided I mine as well go full vegan and I subbed out the honey for maple syrup to make a vegan gluten free mango bread!. So here  is my recipe for the gluten free mango muffins, if prefer to make them vegan, or into a bread, substitutions/modifications are listed right below the recipe!

Gluten Free Mango Muffins

Ingredients
Cooking Spray
2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Fresh Mangoes – Cubed (~2 Cups)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Honey

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Spray 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray
3. Mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in a large mixing bowl
4. Puree mangoes in a blender
5. Add mangoes to dry ingredients in mixing bowl along with vanilla, eggs, oil, and honey
6. Mix well and pour into muffin tin
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until muffins appear lightly golden brown on top
8. Allow to cool slightly and serve
9. Leftover muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or pop it in the freezer for a rainy day

*To make vegan simply sub out the honey for maple syrup and use “flax eggs” in place of eggs. To make 2 “flax eggs” mix 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds in 6 tablespoons of water. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes to gelatinize before stirring into dry ingredients.

**To make into bread simply pour batter into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Adjust cooking time to approximately 40 minutes.

 

These gluten free mango muffins can also be made into mango bread or vegan!

Still have more mangos you need to use? Try my Gluten Free Mango Squares… they freeze really well too so you can keep a stash in your freezer for when you need a little summer during the winter.

Gluten Free Mango Squares Recipe
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