Snail-shaped pasta envelops a herby yoghurt and tomato dressing so that each piece of pasta is packed full of flavour. A refreshing vegetable and fruit salsa brings extra nutritional value as well as exciting taste and texture contrast.
225g small pasta
⅓ cup (20g) chopped fresh parsley
⅓ cup (20g) chopped fresh mint
⅓ cup (15g) snipped fresh chives
2 tbsp fresh tarragon
4 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
pepper to taste
¾ cup (200g) plain low-fat yoghurt
sprigs of fresh mint to garnish
For the salsa
4 celery stalks, finely diced
1 green capsicum, deseeded and finely diced
½ telegraph cucumber, diced
4 spring onions, finely chopped
grated zest of 1 lime (optional)
1⅓ cups (50g) coarsely chopped watercress leaves
1 tsp olive oil
pepper to taste
1 green apple
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Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, mix together the parsley, mint, chives and tarragon with the tomatoes in a large bowl (the bowl should be large enough to take the cooked pasta too). Add pepper, then stir in the yoghurt.
Drain the cooked pasta thoroughly, shaking the shapes in a colander to make sure that there is no cooking water trapped in them. Add the hot pasta to the herby yoghurt dressing and use a large spoon to stir them until they are thoroughly coated. Cover and set aside to cool until it reaches room temperature.
Meanwhile, to make the salsa, mix together the celery, green capsicum, cucumber and spring onions. Stir in the lime zest, if using, and the watercress. Cover and set aside.
Shortly before serving, stir the oil into the salsa with pepper to taste. Quarter, core and finely dice the apple, leaving its peel on. Add to the salsa and stir well.
Halve the avocado and remove the stone, then cut it lengthways into quarters and peel off the skin. Dice the flesh and fold it into the pasta salad.
Serve the cucumber salsa as an accompaniment to the pasta so that it can be added to taste. (The hot pasta absorbs its yoghurt dressing, becoming quite dry as it cools, so the cucumber salsa acts as a second dressing.) Garnish the pasta with sprigs of mint before serving.
Some more ideas…
Use wholemeal pasta for a salad that is higher in fibre. * Add a finely chopped garlic clove to the yogurt dressing. * Make the yogurt dressing green and the salsa red: omit the tomatoes from the yogurt dressing and instead add them to the salsa. Use red capsicum instead of green and a red apple. Season the salsa with paprika to enhance the colour. * Serve this as a chilled salad Leave the pasta to cool completely in step 2, then refrigerate for 1 hour.
Vitamin C in vegetables and fruit is easily destroyed during the cooking process, so eating them raw ensures they provide their maximum vitamin content. * With roughly a dozen fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in this recipe, you'll be certain to get a wonderful cross-section of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.