Vegetables and fresh fruits, lots of them, held together by pasta in this quick-to-prepare meal, is perfect for a busy fall night. You can eat it warm or make it ahead, refrigerate it and then heat it up to fit individual schedules.

Vary the vegetables: use what is freshest and in season right now. Cooked chicken or cooked salmon work equally well or you can opt for a vegetarian option.


Pasta and Vegetable Toss

INGREDIENTS:

300-gram package of thin tri-colour noodles (such as thin linguine noodles)

2 chicken breasts or an 8 to 12-ounce piece of salmon, cooked

1 cup snow or snap peas

1 cup green beans, trimmed

½ zucchini or English cucumber, cubed

6 radishes, sliced

Corn from one cob of cooked corn or substitute one can of mini corn

1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 ripe mango or 2 small peaches

½ cup toasted, slivered almonds

DRESSING:

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

¼ cup fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly grated pepper

PREPARATION:

In a pot of boiling water, cook the fresh pasta for three minutes.

To the boiling water, add the snow or snap peas and green beans and cook for three minutes longer. If using dry pasta, cook eight minutes before adding the peas and beans.

Drain and set aside.

Have the chicken or salmon cooked and cut into thin slices. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: white wine vinegar, sesame oil, olive or vegetable oil, fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, sugar, Dijon and salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the hot, drained pasta.

Add the cooked peas and beans, zucchini, corn and cilantro, stirring each in gently.

Peel and cube the mango and add. If using fresh peaches, leave the peels on and cube and add to pasta.

Add the chicken or salmon and toss all of this together.

Serve with toasted, slivered almonds on top.

Serves 4 or 5, generously.