How to Make a Keto-Friendly Pasta Salad
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Here's how to make keto friendly pasta salad with spiralized zucchini noodles, flavorful tomatoes, crispy bacon, fresh cucumbers, goat cheese and a simple keto vinaigrette.
Whether you’re starting the keto diet or looking for a low carb meal to share, this keto-friendly pasta salad is for you! It’s refreshing and full of flavor, ideal for meal prep and easy to adapt. The recipe below is made with zucchini noodles for the perfect low carb, high fat side dish, but can be made with low carb pasta as well.
Key Ingredients for a Keto-Friendly Pasta Salad
To keep this summer salad low carb, I use zucchini noodles. To mimic pasta, here’s how to make zucchini noodles with or without a spiralizer. I like zucchini because it’s low in carbs, extremely versatile and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 1 cup of zucchini has 2.7 grams net carbs.
Bacon is one of the most popular ingredients in a keto diet since the carbs in bacon are naturally low. Skip the splattering grease in a skillet and bake bacon in the oven instead. The result is perfectly crispy bacon with almost zero cleanup. 1 slice of bacon has 0.1 grams total carbs.
Even though tomatoes are technically classified as a fruit, they are keto-friendly! I enjoy using sliced cherry tomatoes in salads. Feel free to use your favorite type of tomato, though.
The number of carbs in tomatoes depends on their size. 1 cup of cherry tomatoes equals 4 grams net carbs.
Including sliced cucumber in your pasta salad gives each bite a refreshing crunch. Cucumbers are low in carbohydrates and made up mostly of water, so it’s a great keto-friendly vegetable to always have stocked. 1/2 cup of cucumber has 2 grams carbs.
Thanks to its high fat content and low carbs, cheese is keto diet-approved. Goat cheese is a great way to add healthy fats to a keto salad. It has 0g net carbs per ounce.
There are several low carb store-bought salad dressings. However, if you make it yourself, you can control each ingredient! I prefer a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar vinaigrette for this pasta salad. Want to explore other options? Check out these keto salad dressing recipes.
How to Make Keto Pasta Salad – Step by Step
- 3 medium zucchini
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
- 1/2 cup goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Curious about what else you can add to your keto pasta salad? Just reference our keto diet food list.
Step 1: Spiralize the zucchini
Rinse and pat dry each zucchini, then spiralize into zucchini noodles. (Our Test Kitchen uses this brand of spiralizer.) Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Add remaining ingredients
Stir in cooked bacon, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber and crumbled goat cheese.
Editor’s tip: Not a fan of bacon? Use keto-friendly pepperoni instead.
Step 3: Whisk together the dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.
Step 4: Toss the salad
Pour dressing over the top and gently toss to combine. Then, cover the mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill.
Step 5: Serve!
To serve this keto-friendly pasta salad, portion out into 1 cup servings.
Tips for Making Keto-Friendly Pasta Salad
Jenna Urben for Taste of Home
Is there a keto-friendly pasta?
If you prefer to use a more traditional pasta, you’re in luck! Gnooda is a popular option that’s low in carbs, nutritionally dense and actually takes like pasta. You can also use low carb pasta substitutes made out of hearts of palm, sea kelp and other transformed veggies.
How long does keto pasta salad last?
To meal prep, each ingredient can be prepped and stored individually ahead of time. Store leftover zucchini pasta salad covered in the fridge for up to a couple of days.
How many carbs does this pasta salad have?
To calculate the net carbohydrates, take the total carbs and subtract both the grams of fiber and sugar alcohol.
This zucchini noodle keto-friendly pasta salad makes six 1-cup servings. Each serving has 5.1g total carbs and 3.6g net carbs.
If you were to use 12 ounces of regular rotini pasta, 2 ounces per serving, each serving would have 85.8g total carbs and 81.4g net carbs.
For more shareable salads, check out our list of picnic salad ideas for every diet.