Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
Ingredients for fruity pasta salad
350 g mixed coloured pasta shapes
50 g fine green beans, topped and tailed
100 g full-flavoured cheese, such as mature cheddar, diced
150 g lean cooked ham, diced or cut into fine strips
100 g peeled fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 g) mayonnaise
1/4 cup (60 g) low-fat natural yogurt
1/2 teaspoon chopped piccalilli or pickled gherkin, or to taste (optional)
1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon caster sugar, or to taste
juice of 1/4 lemon, or to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)
125 g mixed salad leaves, such as endive, lamb’s lettuce, chicory, rocket, trimmed watercress or Japanese mizuna
1 tablespoon sunflower oil (optional)
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)
salt and pepper
Preparation for fruity pasta salad
1 Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water, then drain again.
2 Cook the beans in boiling water for about 3 minutes or until bright green and just tender, but still crisp. Drain and rinse under cold water, then drain again. Set aside.
3 Combine the cooked pasta with the cheese, ham, pineapple, onion, mayonnaise, yogurt, piccalilli or gherkin, pear and sugar. Add a little extra piccalilli or sugar, if liked. Mix well, then adjust the flavour of the dressing with lemon juice, seasoning and cayenne pepper, if using.
4 Dress the mixed salad leaves with the oil, if using, balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Divide the dressed leaves among 4 plates and top with the pasta mixture.
5 Arrange the green beans, walnuts and dried cranberries, if using, around the leaves and serve immediately.
Each serving provides 2742 kJ, 655 kcal, 27 g protein, 29 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 75 g carbohydrate (12 g sugars), 5 g fibre
Cheese is a good source of protein and a valuable source of calcium, phosphorus, niacin and vitamin B12.
Using a strongly flavoured cheese, such as mature cheddar, means that less is required for flavour in the dish, thus keeping the total fat content down.