Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta

In an effort to eat more healthfully, I have been trying to incorporate more whole grains into my diet (and, ever so slowly into my family’s). I have found a brand of whole wheat pastas that I like and my boys will eat, my Husband is still not sold on them. Since I have been working through Ellie Krieger’s new cookbook, I decided to try a Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta. Now, I forgot to buy the feta cheese when I went shopping, so I subbed in some gorgonzola cheese that I had leftover from another recipe.

This was an extremely simple recipe to throw together. The ingredients are nothing that you’ll have trouble locating – I just hate recipes that require trips to 4 different stores before you can begin cooking. While the pasta cooks, you can dice up the onion, chop the spinach and whisk together the dressing. The recipe does recommend chilling the pasta before throwing in the rest of the ingredients, but I chose to toss them all together after rinsing it with cold water.

The result? Well, this is a very tasty pasta salad. Not sure if you take it to a potluck with people not into whole wheat pasta if it would go over very well. Whole wheat pasta does have a bit of “bite” to it and the texture takes some getting used to so, not everyone will love it right away. I would probably choose a milder cheese to go with it, perhaps some fresh mozzarella cut into small bite-size pieces. The gorgonzola was very good with it, and I am sure the feta would be as well, but both are strong flavored cheeses and my thought is that a mild mozzarella (or even a smoked mozzarella) would be a nicer compliment to this dish. It won’t be as overwhelming to the “masses” who may not be accustomed to the stronger flavored cheeses. Also, if you were to leave out the cheese all together I think it would work fine, however I would suggest adding in something else to jazz it up such as chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

I loved the crunch of the walnuts in this salad, and I would say you should not skip the step of toasting them lightly in a small skillet. That really adds to the flavors of the salad. Since I did not have walnut oil on hand, and no other use for it, I used EVOO. If I can find a small bottle, I may give it a try with it next time to see if the additional subtle flavor really changes the salad.

whole wheat pasta with walnuts and spinach

This recipe is a perfect opportunity for me to participate in two different Food Blogging Events! Every Friday is Presto Pasta Nights over at Once Upon a Feast . I am also submitting this to Sweetnicks for the weekly ARF 5-a Day Round-up for next Tuesday. Be sure to stop by both sites to see what’s cooking as there are sure to be some fantastic recipes and pictures to see!


I too have been trying to eat more healthfully, but so far "trying" for me consists of thinking that I should and doing nothing about it. This pasta salad might help motivate me though--it looks really pretty.
Steph said…
Your pasta looks wonderful! I can't seem to convince my husband to try the whole wheat pasta, I've been trying to be a little more healthy, I'll keep trying!
Ruth Daniels said…
The salad does look lovely and thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Night.

As for getting hubby to try whole wheat pasta...try a hearty lentil tomato sauce. This filling for lentil canneloni thinned a little with more tomato sauce would be the one to try. http://recipesfrom4everykitchen.blogspot.com/2007/09/home-made-lentil-cannelloni.html
Anonymous said…
This looks--and sounds--terrific! When I first switched to "alternative" pastas (kamut, spelt, soba, rice, etc.) several years ago, there was a short adjustment period. But now my hubby and I much prefer them to "standard" wheat pastas!
Patsyk said…
vicarious foodie - I started out that way too... thinking about doing it, and finally decided it was time to put it into action.

Steph - I think the key is to find a brand that you like (which can be tough, I went through a few before I found one). Also, in the beginning cover it in sauce, that helps the transition.

Ruth - thanks for the suggestion! I'll go check it out.

Ricki - thanks for stopping by! It took me a bit to get used to it, and now I do enjoy it and feel much more satisfied. I just have to keep working on him!

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