Cold Pasta Salad

People with diabetes can include pasta as part of a healthy diet. However, they should choose whole grain varieties and be mindful of their portion size. A person can use the Plate Method, carb counting, or half-cup measurements to determine how much pasta they eat. 

Adding extra vegetables and protein may help to balance the blood sugar spike that eating pasta can cause. Additionally, there are alternatives such as vegetable noodles, ‘spaghetti’ squash, cauliflower rice, and lentil pasta that someone may choose instead. 

Lastly, avoiding high-sugar sauces or high-fat creamy dressings can help someone to manage their weight and diabetes. If unsure, a person can ask a dietitian or doctor to help them plan their meals.

What pasta does not raise blood sugar? All pasta raises blood sugar to a certain extent. However, whole grain types or those made from lentil, buckwheat, or pea flour contain more fiber than white pasta and may help to balance blood sugar better.

How much pasta can someone with diabetes eat? The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises that people can count carbs or use the Diabetes Plate Method to portion pasta. If using the Plate Method, people should eat no more than a quarter plate of pasta. It also states that a portion of cooked pasta is a half-cup.

Healthy pasta tipsThe following tips may help someone with diabetes to choose meals that include pasta:

  • always choose whole grain types of pasta
  • watch the portion size; stick to a quarter plate or half cup of cooked pasta
  • add a lean protein such as meat, poultry, fish, or beans to help balance blood sugar
  • avoid adding high-sugar or high-fat sauces and dressings
  • add vegetables to a pasta dish or serve with a side of extra vegetables such as salad greens, broccoli, or mixed vegetables
  • choose tomato-based sauces over rich and creamy dairy-based sauces if managing weight
  • check tomato-based sauces for added sugars
  • if choosing to add cheese, stick to low-fat types and smaller portions
  • use nutritional yeast as a low-fat alternative to cheese to sprinkle on pasta or add to sauces

Cold pasta salad (12 servings)

You can batch cook this recipe and keep it in the refrigerator to portion it into lunch servings or quick dinners for a household. A single serving is a cup of pasta salad.


  • 1 pound (lb) dry whole wheat pasta such as fusilli, pappardelle, or conchiglie
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • half a cup each of light Italian and light French salad dressing
  • 1 can drain black olives
  • ½ cup fresh chopped herbs such as basil, parsley, or oregano


  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate for at least two hours

For more diabetic-friendly healthy pasta recipes, visit https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diabetic-pasta-recipes

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