Food Makeovers: Healthy Summer Potato, Macaroni and Pasta Salad Side Dishes

Food Makeovers: Healthy Summer Potato, Macaroni and Pasta Salad Side Dishes


healthy summer saladsPotato, macaroni and pasta salads are a mainstay of the summer food lineup. While these comfort food dishes are the gold standard of cookouts and other summer meals, they are packed with calories and unhealthy fats.

The good news is, with a few tweaks that have little impact on flavor, you can makeover these dishes to be much healthier.

Sauce Swaps for Summer Salads

The primary way to improve the nutrition and reduce the calories and unhealthy fats is by making changes with the sauce. Here are a few options to improve your sauce:

  • Replace mayonnaise with three parts Greek yogurt and one part mayonnaise. By keeping a little of the mayo, the flavor isn't changed as dramat
  • Consider making your own vinaigrette as the sauce. A base of a healthy oil with vinegar can be customized with spices, and it can be a fun way to get creative (try a version with mustard, pepper, curry or garlic, for example).
  • Use flavorful diced vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes and onions as a sauce base. Saute in a healthy oil, then slowly stir and add apple cider and coconut milk to simmer until it thickens as your sauce base.
  • Add flavor-rich fresh vegetables to the finished cold salad like diced cucumbers or green onions.

Main Ingredient Swaps for Summer Salads

  • Swap whole wheat pasta or macaroni for the white flour versions.
  • Swap rutabagas, sweet potatoes or cauliflower for some or all of the potatoes to dramatically reduce the calories. 
  • Consider alternative whole grains in lieu of traditional pasta or macaroni. Quinoa, couscous or wild rice make excellent replacements, for example.

Healthier Potato Salad Recipe

Here is a recipe to get you started! Besides this, have fun experimenting with your own healthier summer salads with the tips above.

Honey Dijon Potato Salad Recipe

about the author

Holly Bergstrom

Holly Bergstrom

Holly Bergstrom is the Brand Engagement Manager at Xtrema Cookware, and she oversees the creative direction of the company! Holly is passionate about minimizing toxic exposure and living a healthy and vibrant life form the inside out. Holly enjoys cooking, educating, and creating healthy meals for her friends and family. She desires to help every home and kitchen relearn how to slow down, be present, and cook with intention and simplicity. You can follow Holly on @livefreeandveg.

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