This pasta salad is a family recipe that I absolutely love. It is great to serve for a big group or just yourself for lunch. It is full of fresh fruit and veggies that will leave you feeling satisfied.
Chicken & Fruit Pasta Salad:
1 cup cooked bowtie pasta
2oz rotisserie chicken
¼ cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
¼ cup blueberries
1/2 cup pineapple, cubed
2 tbsp. poppy seed dressing
1 cup spinach
Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Strawberries were my favorite fruit as a kid, and I still love them! Even better, this recipe calls for both strawberries and blueberries. Berries, especially blueberries and blackberries, are considered to be one of the most nutritious foods in the grocery store. I recommend eating a 1/2 cup each day if you can. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and anthocyanins, and several studies have shown they might help slow brain aging, prevent heart disease, and fight cancer. Frozen berries are almost as nutritious as fresh berries so they count too!
Pineapples are a good source of several vitamins including folate, vitamin C, manganese, and copper, but the most beneficial compound it contains is a phytonutrient called bromelain. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory enzyme that helps fights infection and can be especially helpful for athletes in healing strained muscles or tendinitis. It is also linked to a healthy immune system and gut health. When picking a pineapple, pick one that has fresh looking leaves and feels heavy for its size. It is should also have a strong sweet smell at its base—if it smells fermented then it is overly ripe. Store in the refrigerator and eat within a few days of purchase.
Spinach is a well-known superfood and for good reason. Just one cup contains almost 20% of the RDA for dietary fiber, which improves satiation and digestion and can help regulate blood sugar levels. Spinach is rich in lutein, which is essential for eye health—especially beneficial in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration. It also contains high amounts of potassium, which is often low in the American diet and is needed to keep your blood pressure in check and is important for heart health. Spinach consumption has also been linked to cancer prevention, bone health, and skin health. One little-known fact is how easy you can freeze spinach. If you have a bag that is starting to turn, just throw it in the freezer and you can use it for green smoothies.