Friday, May 6, 2016

Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad

When I started thinking up this recipe I had one goal in mind – don’t use mayo! I love summer pasta salads but I try to avoid the guilt of creamy ranch and mayo. I’m always determined to find yummy alternatives and I think this one wins the gold on taste! Bacon and avocado mixed with veggies and whole wheat pasta – no mayo needed!

I’ve been testing other recipes with avocado replacement lately and all have been stars. Like in tuna salad, as a sandwich spread, salad dressing and dipping sauce.  I’m still holding off on the avocado brownies that are going viral, but maybe someday I’ll try that too. All you need is a blender and voilĂ ! Don’t have a blender? Try hand mixing, and I’m sure it will taste just as good!

You’re probably wondering how on earth I justified putting Bacon in this dish. It’s supposed to be a clean eating blog right?! I searched for the cleanest bacon around and I think you’ll be impressed. This isn’t any old bacon, it’s turkey bacon, free from added sugar, nitrates and other artificial ingredients. And it’s pretty tasty too. Thank you Wellshire!

The vegetables in this recipe blend nicely with the pasta and bacon, giving lots of texture and flavor. Feel free to use frozen veggies, just de-thaw fully before adding to the mix.

Price: 2 out of 4 on the price scale. The bacon I bought at Whole Foods, for a surprisingly good deal - $3.99!  Whole wheat pasta was about $2 and the avocados, frozen peas and broccoli all rang in between $1-$2 each. In total about $12.  Cat’s out of the bag, mayo is probably cheaper than the avocado dressing – but not by much. You can’t put a price on health, especially not the $2 you might save on avocados.

Bacon Avocado Pasta Recipe
Serving Size 4-5
1 lb box of Whole Wheat Pasta Shells (mini)
2 Medium/Large Heads of Broccoli
1 ½ cup Green Peas, frozen
8 ounces or about 9 strips of Turkey Bacon (Wellshire Brand)
Avocado Dressing:
3 Ripe Avocados
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Chop up broccoli into small florets. You will be blanching the broccoli in the pot. When water comes to a boil, add broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes then remove broccoli with a strainer or slotted spoon. Rinse broccoli with cold water and ice. Keep the pot boiling and add whole wheat pasta. This will save you lots of time boiling water and dirty dishes. Cook according to box. Strain and rinse with cold water. Simultaneously while cooking pasta, in a large saucepan, cook bacon. When done, break apart into tiny pieces using your hands. Thaw peas in the microwave or in boiling water as directed on package. In a large serving bowl, add pasta, broccoli, peas and bacon.  

To make avocado dressing, in a blender, or food processor, add three gutted avocados, lemon juice, EVOO and salt. Blend until smooth. Add dressing to bowl with all ingredients. Stir until pasta is coated. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour or two and serve. If you chilled the pasta when straining it shouldn’t take long (you can probably serve immediately).

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