Sunday, September 23, 2012

Light Macaroni Salad

We all know I can't resist a good recipe makeover!! Ryan and most of my friends like creamy- (a.k.a. mayonnaise) based salads. However, I have never been a huge fan of mayo, except for on a BLT sandwich. To make matters worse, creamy salads never agree with my stomach, although I do crave the creamy consistency sometimes. Ice cream is the thing that I miss the most! In addition to creamy, I try to stay away from gluten.

Light Macaroni Salad |

Although I don't have a huge problem with gluten, it is usually advised that people with Crohn's Disease should avoid it. After my diagnosis a few years ago, I researched and found various helpful sites, books, discussion boards and even a support group that Ryan and I frequented when my symptoms were bad. However, learning how to eat for my disease was a whole different story. Unfortunately, patients with Crohn's are all effected differently by different foods.

The best way for me to understand safe foods was to keep a food journal, which I did for the better part of a year. I learned a lot in that year, mostly the "trigger" foods. Anything fried was out of the question (although this wasn't too upsetting for me). Beets, popcorn, peanuts, ice cream and red meat are always painful. Corn, sugar-loaded things and creamy salads (tuna, chicken, creamy cole slaws) can trigger symptoms as well.

Recreating Delicious

As for the foods I had to leave behind, I learned how to substitute ingredients or recreate recipes so I didn't always have to miss out on great flavors. Comfy Belly is one of the blogs that I follow. The author focuses on healthy, healing recipes for her son with Crohn's. I like her recipes because they usually shy away from my trigger foods and include healing, power foods. I decided to try her macaroni salad, which I have not had in about three years. I made some changes and substituted greek yogurt for most of the mayo to cut down on the fat. I was secretive and didn't tell Ryan it was gluten free and light, to get his full reaction. He thought It was delicious!

Light Macaroni Salad |

I should point out that this is great for parties, but not tailgates in 85 degree weather! The creaminess of the pasta starts to break down in the sun and the gluten free pasta gets hard and clumps together.

I also had some the next day after all of the flavors melded together and it was delicious,  so this is a great make ahead side dish.

You can substitute whole wheat pasta or regular pasta in this recipe as well.

Light Macaroni Salad

Adapted from Comfy Belly
Yields: 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: Pasta cooking time

4 cups of cooked pasta (I used gluten-free pasta - Quinoa pasta)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup of mayonnaise (can use low fat)
3/4 cup of plain greek yogurt (can use low fat)
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta per the instructions on the box. I reserved some of the pasta water just in case the dressing got too thick. Drain and rinse the pasta in cool water and set aside.

Mix the pepper, celery, mayo, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, honey, cayenne, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Stir in the pasta and mix to combine. Store the pasta salad in the refrigerator for at least and hour and up to overnight. Serve chilled.

Light Macaroni Salad |

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