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
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 cups
To me, pasta salad is a summer meal, but not if it’s warmed up!
Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 2 cups dry pasta – I used rice pasta!
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup raw slivered almonds + more for garnish
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley + more for garnish
  • ¼ 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.

View Nutritional Information (once on page scroll down)

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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  1. Leanne I’m a new subscriber and loving you’re recipes! I can’t wait to try the quinoa bars.

    • 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!