627. Sweet Potato and Pasta Salad

March 20, 2017mayurisjikoni
Blog post

Drought–A national disaster

2016 did not bring enough rains to many parts of Kenya. Fast forward to 2017 and out of 47 counties 23 which are arid or semi arid parts of Kenya are facing drought. Rivers have dried up, animals and humans are dying without food. A National and International appeal has been sent out to help these areas with food and water. NGOs, Charity organisations, Private companies all have sent out foodstuff, but that is not enough. If the long rains do not arrive by April, then many more will die without food.

Nakumatt has put a huge box near its exit if anyone would wish to buy some foodstuff to be donated. Every time I pass the box its empty! People cannot afford to buy foodstuff to give away as they themselves are barely making ends meet with the high cost of basic food stuff. The basic 2 kg maizemeal packet which is required to make the staple food ugali or sima is selling at more than Ksh 130/- (approx $1.26). A 2 kg packet is enough for to prepare one meal for an average family of 4. Vegetables like tomatoes, onion, are are about $1 per kg. 500ml milk packet is 48c. When income for a lot of people is about a dollar a day, its impossible to make ends meet.

Its been so hot here with temperatures of 34-35°C that its not possible to spend long hours in the kitchen. When the #FoodieMonday#Bloghop group decided on #Pastamania as the 84th theme, I wanted to make ravioli but the was just too hot. Daughter and hubby were also demanding a lighter lunch so I opted to make a filling salad. This salad can be served warm or cold. I served it cold.



Serves 4 or 2 as a light meal

1 medium(approx 500g) sweet potato
¼ cup lightly roasted pine nuts
¼ cup any other nuts of your choice (walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds etc) – I             used boiled peanuts that I had in the fridge
2 tbsp olive oil
12-14 mint leaves
1 cup cooked pasta ( any shape)
10-12 spinach leaves (or 12-20 baby spinach leaves)
2-3 tbsp dried cranberries

Passion fruit Dressing:
7 passion fruits
1 tbsp water
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
½ tsp coarse pepper powder
¼ tsp chilli flakes

  1. Peel the sweet potato and cut it into chunks. Parboil them. Remove the chunks from the water and let it cool completely.
  2. Cut the sweet potato chunks into small cubes.
  3. Heat olive oil a wide pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the diced sweet potato and roast them till they appear a bit crunchy.
  5. Put the sweet potato into a big salad bowl.
  6. Add the boiled pasta.
  7. If you are using normal spinach then you may want to cut the leaves into bite size pieces. If you’re using baby spinach, add it to the pasta mixture.
  8. Add the nuts, mint leaves and dried cranberries.Mix the salad.
Preparation of the dressing:
  1. Remove the pulp from the passion fruit. Leave pulp from one on the side.
  2. Put the pulp from 6 passion fruits into a blender along with a tbsp of water.
  3. Blend it in short bursts. You don’t want to grind the seeds.
  4. Strain the mixture through a sieve to get the passion fruit juice.
  5. Add salt, honey, pepper and chilli flakes to the juice and mix it well.
  6. Add the pulp you kept on the side and mix well.
  7. The dressing is ready.
Just before serving the salad add the dressing and mix or serve the dressing on the side.
  • To roast pine nuts, put them in a wide pan and roast for 1 minute over low heat, stirring them continuously.
  • Light roast the nuts if you’re not using boiled peanuts.
  • Add any tangy fruit of your choice to replace the cranberries.
  • You can peel and dice the sweet potato. Rub olive oil over it and roast it in the oven at 180°C till done.
  • ¾ cup raw pasta will give 1 cup cooked pasta.
You may want to check out other pasta dishes:
mum’s buitoni
spaghetti with vegetarian ‘bolognese’ sauce

Sending this recipe for the following event:



  • alkajena

    March 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I feel sad about the scene over there , apart from this truth of life, your cold pasta salad is the perfect to beat the heat.

  • Pushpita Aheibam

    March 20, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    This is really sad! Hope the Almighty does some miracle and bring an end to the acute drought soon. My prayers for the people of Kenya!
    The cold pasta salad looks refreshing for the extreme weather MayuriDi and not to forget the pics look very fresh.

  • Rupal Patel

    March 20, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    My prayers for people of Kenya!!
    Unique combination Pasta… looks delicious

  • Sujata Roy

    March 21, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Feeling very sad. My prayers for the people there. Pasta looks delicious and perfect for this season

  • Saswati Hota

    March 22, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Hope the rain gods feel some pity and the drought condition ends soon.T he cold pasta salad must be filling …I love the dressing..passion fruit, maple syrup and chilli flakes..sounds too yum.

  • Herbs Spices and Tradition

    March 24, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Sorry o know about the drought in Kenya. Kenya is such a beautiful county. In my memory it is so green and beautiful, Lets hope and pray it will rain soon.
    Salad is cool, I think it is a good idea to serve cold when the weather is hot.

  • Mayuri Patel

    March 24, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you Alka.

  • Mayuri Patel

    March 24, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you Pushpita,we too are praying for the rains.

  • Mayuri Patel

    March 24, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you Rupal. Adding pasta makes it filling.

  • Mayuri Patel

    March 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you Sujata.

  • Mayuri Patel

    March 24, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks Saswati. The dressing is very tasty, balances the sweetness of the sweet potato and refreshing to beat the heat.

  • Mayuri Patel

    March 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks Sadhna, the drought has affected the whole of northern part and along the east side. Hopefully the rains should be here in April.

  • Preethi Prasad

    March 27, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Perfect Cold Pasta salad for summer.Awesome Share.

  • Kriti Singhal

    March 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Kriti Singhal

    March 27, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    As usual your write ups are informative… while sitting in other parts of the world, we may not know but every pain is being reflected in your blog… Prayers for the beautiful souls!! Pasta looks amazing!

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 3, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you Kriti, we need all the prayers we can get.

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 3, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you Preethi.

  • Shobha

    April 4, 2017 at 11:26 am

    These natural disasters really make you sad.. May God keep everyone safe in kenya.
    Nice and simple salad. I have never tried sweet potato in salads.The passionfruit dressing must be so flavourful. I miss this fruit. We had plenty of them in Brazil. In India it is very rare.

  • priya satheesh

    April 4, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Really sad to hear this and can feel the pain of heat. Its always better to consume light meal with lots of fluid intake during summer. Your pasta looks absolutely healthy and interesting dressing !

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 4, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Its true Priya, its best to eat light meals and drink a lot of water. I love the refreshing taste of the passion fruit dressing, unfortunately forgot to take the picture but will add it when I prepare it again.

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 4, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks Shobha, we need the prayers desperately. I love passion fruit and that's one thing I miss too when I'm in India.

  • Nayna Kanabar

    April 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Its so sad that people are struggling to feed them selves. We don't realise how luck we are in the western world. Your salad looks really refreshing and colourful.

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 10, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks Nayna. Its so true that most people don't even know the importance of wasting food, especially the youngsters. Recent guests from UK and US couldn't believe it when we told them that butter is not available in the supermarkets because of the drought.

  • Flavour Diary

    April 12, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    my heart cries whenever i hear scarcity of basic needs are fulfilled for the people… hope the rains arrive sooner by gods grace…..
    dee you have captured cold pasta salad in a cool way dee…. i loved the dressing too….a total yum

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 14, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks Nisa,no rains as yet in Mombasa but I hear its raining in other parts of Kenya. I totally forgot to photograph the dressing. I will add a photo when I make it again.

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