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posted: 7/3/2012 4:45 PM

A quick, easy and fresh pasta salad that's healthy

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  • Fettuccine-style shirataki noodles make this pasta salad an option for those watching their carbs.

      Fettuccine-style shirataki noodles make this pasta salad an option for those watching their carbs.
    Associated Press

 
By J.M. Hirsch
Associated Press

The trouble with being a food editor is that you eat. A lot.

It's fun and wonderful and satisfying ... and sometimes incredibly fattening. Especially if, like me, you've already spent most of your life wrestling with your weight. So lately I've been doing a lot of watching of carbs, trying hard to minimize them, or at least eat them mostly in the form of veggies.

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That was my inspiration for this lower-carb pasta salad. Because in summer I really crave pasta salads. And I crave them bursting with fatty mayo and carb-rich pasta.

It helps that I already like my pasta salads jammed with fresh vegetables. So for this recipe I loaded up with fresh raw corn cut from the cob (yes, it's delicious raw), crunchy red bell peppers, a little bit of red onion and scallions, some cherry tomatoes and a handful of peas.

For the mayo, I could have gone with low- or no-fat mayonnaise, but those can taste flat and artificial. Instead, I went with a blend of fat-free plain Greek yogurt and low-fat sour cream. The combination -- amplified by a few seasonings -- hits just the right textures and tastes I was looking for.

Now, about that pasta ... The secret weapon here is an increasingly popular new-ish product known as shirataki noodles, which have zero to 20 calories per serving. They are produced by several companies and generally are made from soy, yam or some combination of similar ingredients. With calorie counts like those, you can easily eat a satisfying mound of them.

The noodles -- which are packed in bags of water and are sold in a variety of shapes, including penne -- just need to be blanched in boiling water for a couple minutes. The texture is a bit softer than traditional pasta, but when mixed in with heaps of vegetables, the difference is minor.

• Associated Press Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to good eats on Twitter @JM -- Hirsch.

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