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Pasta Salads – Tried and Tasted

With the start of summer firmly here, it's out with the soup and in with the salads for our office lunches. But you won't find a boring plain green salad here, the WLR Tried and Tasted Team opted for trying out some of the low calorie pasta salads available instead, and here's what they found:

Table 1: Pasta Salads Compared
Product Name Marks & Spencer, Nutritionally Balanced Hot Smoked Lochmuir Salmon Marks & Spencer, COU Feta Cheese & Slow Roasted Tomatoes Asda, GFY Tuna Pasta Salad
  Pasta with Hot Smoked Lochmuir Salmon Pasta with Feta Cheese and Slow Roasted Tomatoes Tuna Pasta Salad
Ranking 1 2 3
Appearance Fantastic looking piece of fish on a bed of pasta, with plenty of green and plenty of sauce too. Colourful with sauce covering the pasta, looks homemade. Bit boring looking really, but then it's tuna pasta, they all look boring.
Smell We didn't notice one. Subtle basil aroma. Combination of tuna & vinegar.
Taste Ingredients really compliment each other. Quite mild, but loving the feta cheese. Thick and creamy tuna goodness.
Texture/ Consistency Great mixture, although some tasters would have preferred the pasta a little more al dente. Great mix of textures with firm pasta base. Not as stodgy as you might have thought, thumbs up from us.
Conclusion Our favourite out of the Pasta Salads, with a portion size that leaves your tummy as well as your taste buds satisfied. A general crowd pleaser and some people's favourite. We were put off by the small portion but soon found it was perfect as this pasta salad was very filling. A classic done well, but nothing special. Could have done with more tuna in it. We did like portion size, but this is reflected in the calories
Serving Size 1 Tub/195g 1 Tub/190g 1 Tub/250g
Calories (kccal) per serving 295 335 340
Fat (g) per serving 12.3 13.3 14.8
Table 2: Pasta Salads Compared
Product Name Marks & Spencer, Nutritionally Balance Cherry Tomatoes, Spinach & Pine Nuts Weight Watchers Tomato, Basil & Chicken Sainsbury's, BGTY Tomato, Basil & Chicken
  Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Spinach & Pine Nuts Tomato, Basil and Chicken Pasta Salad Pasta with Tomato and Basil Chicken
Ranking 4 5 6
Appearance Spinach is very apparent as is very green, yet still appealing. Very artificial, rather looks like it came out of a tin. Colourful with large bits of chicken and plenty of sauce
Smell Strong smell of pesto & pine nuts. Subtle basil aroma. Non-descript
Taste Disappointingly bland, especially for the calories. Plus after a few mouthfuls become slightly stodgy. No real substance but vinegary taste. Can't say it tasted of anything in particular but was nice.
Texture/ Consistency Pine nuts are a winner on the texture front giving it more variety than some pastas Gooey, with good bits of chicken. With so much sauce made it a bit sloppy.
Conclusion This may not have been a standout favourite for anyone, but we'd all happily eat it if given to us. However watch out for the high fat content Bit like marmite this one, we either loved it or hated it. However it was the lowest in calories of our pasta salads, and is worth giving it a go. Too much sauce and not enough flavour was the general consensus, but not bad
Serving Size 1 Tub/190g 1 Tub/245g 1 Tub/195g
Calories (kccal) per serving 350 280 357
Fat (g) per serving 16.7 4.7 15.1

Conclusion

Marks & Spencer get a big round of applause from us, as they are the only supermarket to offer a range of low calorie pasta salad options. We were actually really surprised when we found ourselves struggling to find low calorie salads, which is why we have tasted so many from M&S - we figured they've made the effort, so we'd try them!

Bought salads can have a shocking amount of calories in, and even some of our healthier options here are higher than we would have expected so always check the packaging, or get creative in the kitchen and prepare your own.

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