Healthy Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Rich in omega-3, minerals and protein, this pasta salad is a go-to recipe for spring and summer picnics.

The following recipe, written by Dr. Paola Lovisetti Scamihorn and Paola Palestini, PhD, appears in The Mamma Mia! Diet

Total preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 11–12 minutes
Yield: 2 servings


  • 3.5 oz (100 g) whole durum wheat bow-tie pasta
  • 5 oz (140 g) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 10–15 basil leaves
  • 5 oz (140 g) canned mackerel, in extra virgin olive oil (use sardines or tuna as an alternative)
  • 2 tablespoons Taggiasche olives or black olives, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with hot chili pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste

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Wash cherry tomatoes and cut in half. Place in a bowl with garlic and add a pinch of salt. Let rest for 5 minutes to release the water. Remove garlic and drain water from tomatoes. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta al dente for about 11–12 minutes, according to the instructions on the package. In a bowl, mix drained and cut pieces of mackerel, tomatoes, and olives. Shred basil leaves by hand and add. Drain pasta al dente and rinse with cold water. Add to the mix. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and serve at room temperature. You can store this dish in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 1 day. It is a delicious lunch box dish for summer.

Author’s Note: This pasta salad is a tasty summer dish, perfect to prepare on a warm day when you don’t want to stand in front of the stove but still want to enjoy a simple, refreshing and light dish! I suggest having it as a main dish for your midday meal—it is satisfying, quick and easy to prepare and rich in many nutrients. You can also prepare it for a picnic or have it for lunch at work. Mackerels (called in Italian “pesce azzurro”, like sardines or anchovies) is common in the Mediterranean sea and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and protein.

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