Tag Archives: pasta

Pumpkin Pasta Salad


This is a lovely salad for a late lunch on a warm afternoon. It is light and fresh while still satisfying the kids’ passion for pasta.


  • 1/2 butternut pumpkin
  • 300 g dried vermicelli pasta
  • 2 rashers bacon (optional)
  • 2 T macadamia oil
  • 400 g can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

De-seed and peel pumpkin, and chop into 1.5 cm cubes. Steam until just soft. If using bacon, chop into small pieces and fry. Chop asparagus into 2 cm lenths and team until just soft.

Cook vermicelli in water or vegetable stock (I prefer stock if not using bacon) until al dente.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve.

An Untraditional Lasagna


The sprogs love pasta. All pasta. They would eat pasta every day if given the chance.  They nag me to make it and keep tabs on how many days it has been since the last pasta meal in order to justify the need for the next one.

The fabulous thing about their pasta fixation is that they will eat anything, no matter how healthy, if there are noodles in it.  They will even eat wholemeal noodles. Their all time favourite pasta is lasagna, followed closely by ravioli.

This lasagna is not as rich as a traditional lasagna, and is full of fresh vegetables.  This is a time consuming recipe because of all the layers involved, but it is very easy to make.  This recipe is large – it will serve 8 generously, or feed the family for two nights.


Meat sauce

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 T fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 t dried mixed herbs
  • 800ml canned tomatoes
  • salt to taste

Saute onion in oil until it becomes translucent.  Add mince and cook for 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Ricotta sauce

  • 500g soft ricotta cheese
  • 250g low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 egg

Mix all ingredients together. Set aside.

Remaining ingredients

  • 6 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 100g fresh spinach
  • 250g tasty cheese, grated
  • 250g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 12 sheets oven ready instant lasagna or equivalent fresh lasagna


This part is easy and fun.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  Very lightly spray large (38 x 27cm) pan or two smaller pans with oil.

Arrange tomato slices in pan to create the first layer. Using half of the spinach leaves, spread over the tomatoes to create the second layer. Place 4 lasagna sheets over the spinach.

Spread half of the meat sauce evenly over the lasagna.

Arrange mushroom slices over the meat layer. Spread half of the cheese over the mushrooms, and then add another layer of lasagna.

Top the lasagna with ricotta mixture, then the remaining spinach and the remaining meat sauce.

Create a third layer of lasagna and spread the remaining ricotta over it. Arrange the remaining tomatoes over the ricotta mixture.  Cover the pan with foil and bake until cooked through – about 50 minutes using instant lasagna or around 30 minutes with fresh lasagna. When lasagna is cooked, remove foil from pan, top with remaining cheese and return to oven until the cheese has melted.

Serve with peppery rocket.