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Low sodium pasta salad with ginger-sesame dressing

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

A quick, almost no-cook meal for any day of the week. The dressing has less than 5 mg of sodium per tablespoon, so the sodium in the meal will depend on the vegetables/protein used. Add low sodium chicken breast, tofu, or a fried egg for protein and it's still a very low sodium meal.

Servings: 4 servings

Sodium: Dressing has less than 5 mg per tablespoon, sodium will depend on vegetables used

Time: 45 minutes

Dressing ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted tahini or nut butter

1 tablespoon hot water

1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 tablespoon unsalted mustard (or 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard)

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce substitute (or whatever you use for soy sauce, see note below)

6 tablespoons unseasoned, unsalted rice vinegar

1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar

2 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)

Pasta ideas/ingredients: Use 8 ounces of your favorite sodium-free pasta and about 5-6 cups of vegetables. The vegetables can all be cooked, raw, or some combination of both. Here are two combinations I really like:

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti

4 cups napa cabbage, sliced thin

1 cup red bell pepper, sliced thin

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, grated

Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

8 ounces short pasta like fusilli or penne

1 bunch kale, roasted or sautéed

8 ounces sugar snap peas, sliced thin

1/4 cup mint, chopped

Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

1) Make the dressing first so it can chill and develop more flavor. Start by adding tahini or whatever nut butter you're using (peanut butter is great) to a small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon hot water until smooth. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. I use my own soy sauce substitute, but you can use up to 1 tablespoon of whatever low sodium sauce that works for you (like coconut aminos, low sodium soy sauce or tamari, or Worcestershire sauce).

Refrigerate until ready to use. If the dressing is too thick when you go to use it, thin it out with a little water or balsamic or red wine vinegar.

2) Cook the pasta according to the package. While the pasta is still a little warm, toss with vegetables and dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes (optional). This salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold. If you're serving it cold, you may want to thin out the dressing a little bit with some more vinegar and oil.

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