Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad with Orange Dressing is a light, refreshing pasta salad made with fresh spinach, strawberries, whole wheat pasta, and 100% orange juice.
Disclosure: Today’s post is brought to you in partnership with the Florida Department of Citrus. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and toddler-musings are my own. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, scroll to the bottom of this post!
Summertime means I’m eating more leafy greens and hoping the rest of my family wants a little extra crunch, color, and texture in their lives. At least that’s what I told myself when I dreamt up this recipe for strawberry spinach pasta salad with orange dressing. Can you guess the wildcard ingredient? Yep, the spinach. But my fingers were crossed when I had 2 out of the 3 help me make the pasta salad, and 3 for 3 LOVE anything I make with Florida Orange Juice [FLOJ]. We had to have a winner, right?!
When it comes to creating new recipes and testing them out on my family, I clearly have to keep 3 little definitive taste buds in mind [4 if you count Ted]. And if I don’t, you better believe I’m eating LOTS of leftovers. I might have been stretching it a bit to think my toddlers would jump for joy when I started adding layer upon layer to this strawberry spinach pasta salad with orange dressing, I can tell you that once I started deconstructing it for their liking, I’ve never seen them eat as much cooked rotini noodles in orange dressing then I have when the final product was served. We almost always have Florida Orange Juice in our fridge, whether it’s used for popsicles, meat marinades, veggie glazes, or enjoyed in an 8-ounce glass, which counts as one of your daily recommended servings of fruit. So I knew I had a chance of them liking the pasta salad dressing when it included their favorite juice.
You might be thinking, “well duh, what child wouldn’t like a pasta salad with 100% orange juice dressing?!”. True. But let me let you in on a little secret: if you want your kids [or husbands] to try new foods OR salads, a dressing made with 100% orange juice really, really makes a difference. FLOJ counts as a fruit choice to help meet fruit recommendations, something many children and adolescents fall short of. 100% orange juice is also free of added sugars and sodium, both of which parents like me tend to watch when it comes to serving meals, snacks, and beverages to our children. [hyperlink in this section to the nutrition-facts page].
From Vitamin C to folate to potassium, I know I’m supporting healthy habits for my family by using Florida OJ in recipes such as this strawberry spinach pasta salad with orange dressing. Besides, with the amount of flavor and nutrition packed into this recipe, Mom was happily eating the leftovers.
- ½ cup Florida Orange Juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
- ¾ cup pancetta, diced and pan-fried
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup pistachios, shelled
- Combine pasta salad dressing ingredients. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, toss pasta, lettuce, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing.
- Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.