Warm Cranberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

I got to catch up with Sona yesterday afternoon over a hot cup of tea at a Starbucks in Inglewood.

The original plan was to hit up Wildernest Dream Cafe but they were closed. It’s been a year since I’ve heard of the place but have yet to visit. Eh, what’s another couple months?

Sona is one amazing woman. She’s inspiring, strong, and filled with so much  zest for life, it’s infectious.

Every time I chat with her I get so empowered to just be in the present, believe in myself, and push forward.

I don’t have many “people” in my life, but the ones I do have are hands down the warmest, most supportive, understanding, and loving individuals. Having these connections has been one of the key aspects to unlocking my happiness. I remind myself often that it’s okay to be vulnerable, open, and let people in.

Guh, I’m so lucky!

On my drive home from our tea date I was left with so much to sort through; namely, is there an emotion or mindset holding me back from living out my dreams and feeling healthy?

Instead of getting into a pull over on the side of the highway soul searching session I cranked up DeadMau5 and thought of the amazing people in my life that I’m grateful for.

When I got home I had some leftover pasta salad, had a shower, a dessert of sliced apples, flax, almond butter and apple butter and then retreated to my closet for my first meditation in over 1.5 years. Bring on the balance. I’m ready.

On with the eats…

I’ve become obsessed with putting yesterday’s recipe in a bowl and pouring almond milk over top.

Seriously… you need to try it! It will change your life.

Another thing I’m obsessed with?

Putting cranberry in foods where you’d least expect it.

I blame Cranberry barbecue beef oven stew for this behavior!

To me, pasta salad is a summer meal, but not if it’s warmed up! This pasta is seriously delicious and makes for a perfect lunch leftover [it's guaranteed to make everyone in the office jealous of the smells radiating from your desk!]

Warm Cranberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free


Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice – I used unsweetened juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon herbamare or Himalayan rock salt
  • pinch stevia
  • pepper to taste


  • 2 cups dry pasta – I used rice pasta!
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup raw slivered almonds + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onions


  1. Cook pasta as per package instructions. Once cooked and strained, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all vinaigrette ingredients in small saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat until it boils, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Make sure to stir every 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Drop cooked pasta into a large serving bowl, top with remaining salad ingredients and pour vinaigrette over top.
  4. Stir to coat and serve immediately.

Makes 6 cups of salad, depending on what type of pasta is used.

Nutrition stats [1 cup]: calories 248; fat 11g; carbohydrates 36g; dietary fiber 4g; sugars 2g; protein 3g


Do you surround yourself with loving people?

When you read the word “friend” who is the first person you think of? Have you told them how much you value them in your life?

I think of Kevin. He’s so supportive and knows me better than I know myself most times. I confide in him daily, depend on him, and love him to bits!

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. This looks delicious, I tried rice pasta for the first time yesterday and love it, cant wait to make this!

    • Its pretty good eh? I have SO much of it to use up [there was a sale!] Have you had your smoothie this morning?

  2. I tried Wildernest last week for the first time coincidentally. It is AMAZING. I tried the wild salmon wrap and the tomato soup. Everything was high quality, and big on taste. Thanks for that quinoa recipe – I have a bunch sitting at home, and am always looking for new ways to change it up!

    • You’ve convinced me to go there for lunch next week. I gotta check this place out! Thanks Jen :)

  3. love cranberries in unexpected places as well. Will have to try it the next time I make chicken biryani!

  4. That pasta looks incredible. I am loving the idea of using that sauce… would have never thought of it on my own. Thank you!

  5. looks so yummyyyy!! i like how the dish looks so classy and can be made in like 10 mins!

  6. This looks so delish! Pasta salad reminds me of spring time! I love adding dried cranberries to my pasta salad as well! :)

    I, too, have a few very good friends! I think quality trumps quantity. :)

  7. cranberries = one of my weaknesses.
    cranberries in things you wouldn’t expect to see them = you have the key to my heart.
    Sounds like you had a wonderful talk with Sona :] I appreciate the sentiment about having few “people,” but they are all supportive and caring. That is the way it should be, I couldn’t agree more :]

    • More cranberry recipes to keep Jess coming back for more. Noted. :)
      Hope you’re having a great night!

  8. I love your pasta salad and cranberries. I have a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer, and I use craisins in salads, but never tried it in pasta. I’m putting this on my to make list.

  9. The pasta looks great! I have three best friends… my mom, sister, and boyfriend! I couldn’t make it through the day without them… my mom calls me her shadow bc I follow her around everywhere when I am home!

    • That’s so sweet! Were you always close with your mom? Or did it take you getting older to realize how fantastic she is? I was definitely the latter. Love my mom to bits now though!

  10. Leanne, it was so great seeing you too! I’m truly honoured by your words. Let’s face it though, we’re just mirrors for each other :) Oh, and, yeah, let’s not meditate on the road!

    • Hi Michelle, thanks for saying hi and for your kind words. It’s always nice to meet my readers :) I hope you like the quinoa bars when you give them a shot!

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