A long, long time ago, I was in a serious relationship with pasta.
Spaghetti, penne, tortellini, ravioli, fettuccine, and any other type of noodle that I could get my knife and fork on… I devoured it in a mere blink of an eye. This relationship never wavered or faltered. It was an utter devotion to the infamous carb and grew stronger as each year went by.
My relationship with pasta peaked as I discovered Noodles & Company, along with their delicious array of pasta dishes from different parts of the world. I would frequent Noodles & Co. at least twice a week, usually selecting the classic mediterranean penne rosa or the asian pad thai dish, depending on which region’s cuisine I was craving at the time. Looking back on this relationship, I think it may have been one sided (on my part), because the endless helpings of pasta didn’t exactly gift me with a chiseled physique. However, with every relationship, you remember the good times, you learn from your mistakes, and you move on.
Fast forward about 8 years, and I would like to think that my eating habits have changed a bit. I am now in many different culinary relationships. From kale and coconut to avocados and salmon… I get around. However, these new culinary relationships are definitely two-sided, satisfying my taste buds while also improving my health. Overall they’ve been fairly stable relationships and I do not have any urgent complaints. But even so, I still get that occasional urge to hop in my car, speed to Noodles & Co., and chow down on a heaping plate of pad thai.
Enter: Pad Thai Quinoa.
I know what you’re thinking. It will never work. But believe me, it really, truly does.
I found a recipe online last week and with my family’s approval, I made a Pad Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing for dinner one night. It was delicious! My dad even told me I could make it every week if I wanted. And most importantly, it took me right back to my pasta-feasting days, minus the gluten and the 830 calories (thanks, Noodles website).
It’s perfect for summer because you can serve it cold and you can even add some grilled chicken or shrimp if you want! (I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, but everything else I kept the same as the original recipe). I will definitely be making this again when I get those carb-loaded cravings that are bound to occur. But I don’t even feel like slightest bit of guilt about it.
Some people say you can’t eat healthy and still enjoy your favorite foods.
But I say… I’m pretty sure that’s just an excuse for you to not cancel your Noodles & Co. order that you already made for tonight.