Penne rigati with sesame and orange dressing

    30 min

    This fresh-flavoured pasta salad is ideal as a side dish with grilled chicken or firm fish, such as fresh tuna or swordfish. It makes a healthy change from noodles dressed with oil or butter and Parmesan cheese.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 200 g (7 oz) penne pasta
    • 2 large oranges
    • 6 spring onions, cut into short fine strips
    • 55 g (2 oz) bean sprouts
    • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
    • Dressing
    • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
    • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh root ginger
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:30min  ›  Ready in:30min 

    1. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
    2. While the pasta is cooking, peel the oranges, removing all the pith. Holding the oranges over a bowl to catch any juice, cut out the segments from their surrounding membrane. Set the segments aside, and reserve the juice in the bowl.
    3. Place the spring onion strips in a bowl of cold water and set them aside until they curl.
    4. To make the dressing, add the orange zest and juice to the juices reserved from segmenting the oranges. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, grated fresh ginger and seasoning to taste. Whisk lightly to mix.
    5. Drain the pasta and add to the dressing. Mix well, then cover and set aside to cool.
    6. When ready to serve, thoroughly drain the spring onions; reserve a few for garnish and add the remainder to the salad together with the orange segments, bean sprouts and toasted sesame seeds. Gently toss the ingredients together, then serve the salad immediately, sprinkled with the reserved spring onions.

    Some more ideas

    Use Japanese soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour, instead of penne and cook them for 5–7 minutes. Use sunflower oil in the dressing instead of the sesame oil and omit the sesame seeds. Stir in 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste instead of the fresh root ginger. Add 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander with the orange segments, if liked. * To increase the vegetable content of the salad, finely shred ½ bulb fennel and add it to the salad; scatter with the fronds or feathery leaves from the fennel to garnish.

    Plus points

    Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, with 1 orange providing more than twice the recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Studies have highlighted a connection between a regular intake of vitamin C and the maintenance of intellectual function in elderly people. Those eating a diet rich in vitamin C were also less likely to suffer a stroke. * Oranges, and other citrus fruit, also contain coumarins, compounds that are believed to help thin the blood and thus prevent stroke and heart attacks.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of vitamin C. Good source of copper. Useful source of folate, niacin, potassium, selenium, vitamin B1.

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