Italian Style “Pasta” Salad (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

My latest cooking adventure was Low Carb Italian Style “Pasta” Salad.  Now that it is summer time I’ve been making a lot of salad recipes.  Most of my salad recipes contain mayonnaise, which isn’t good if the salad is going to be left outside for a long time.  I decided to come up with a delicious salad recipe that 1) replaced the old carb heavy pasta salad and 2) did not contain mayo.  The result was a flavorful Italian style pasta salad.

I used the following ingredients for Low Carb Italian Style “Pasta” Salad:
2 medium cucumbers (peeled, seeded, and diced)
2 cups chopped cauliflower (steamed or raw)
1 green onion (just the green part) finely chopped
1/4 cup green olives, halved
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved or quartered 
2 Tbsp chopped roasted red pepper
2 Tbsp shredded carrots
16 slices of pepperoni, quartered
1 batch of Italian Dressing (recipe below)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Combine everything but the Italian Dressing and cheese in a large bowl.  Add the Italian Dressing and toss to coat (add as little or as much dressing as you prefer).  Add the Parmesan cheese, if desired. 
Italian Spice Mixture:
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar substitute (I used Swerve)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp  dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine the spices and use 2 Tbsp of the spice mixture in the Italian Dressing below.   (Makes about 1/4 cup of spice mixture)

Italian Dressing:
2 Tbsp of Italian Spice Mixture
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the spices, vinegar, and water.  Slowly add the oil as you whisk to combine.  

Net Carb Count*:

Italian Style “Pasta” Salad:  23 net carbs (for the entire recipe including the dressing-makes about five 1/2 cup servings)
Italian Dressing:  3 net carbs (per batch of Italian Dressing)

*Note carb counts are estimated based on the products I used. Check nutrition labels for accurate carb counts.

Comments: This was a perfect summer side dish!  There was no cooking involved which was great because I didn’t have to heat up my house in this hot and humid weather.  Well, I did steam the cauliflower in the microwave because I’m not a fan of raw cauliflower, but it didn’t require using the stove or the oven.  Also, this recipe was a great replacement for the old pasta salad filled with carbs.  If you eat Dreamfields pasta, then this recipe would also work with that pasta.  The left over spice mixture can be used to make dressing for your next salad or add the spices to almond flour and use it as a breading mixture.  This pasta salad would be great for your Fourth of July BBQ because it doesn’t have any mayonnaise and will hold up well.  If you prefer a creamy Italian dressing and don’t mind the mayonnaise, you could add 1/4-1/2 cup of mayo to the dressing.  I marked this salad as dairy free because the parmesan cheese is optional.


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