This Watercress, Ham and Pasta Salad is great as a different type of salad to use as a side dish.  Many pasta salads tend to have a coleslaw or mayo-based dressing which makes them less healthy and sweeter. This salad is more healthy and is different to the usual Mediterranean type of salad.

Serves 8


1 x 450 g can good quality ham
250 g (8 oz) baby carrots
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic, crushed with a little salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
250 g (8 oz) small pasta shells
1 cup each firmly packed watercress sprigs and black olives


Chill ham before opening. Cook carrots in a little boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or until just crisp and tender. Refresh under cold running water then cut diagonally into 1 cm (1/2 inch) slices.

In a large salad bowl combine lemon juice, mustard, crushed garlic, and whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Boil pasta in a large pan of salted water for about 10 minutes or until al dente – firm to the bite.

Add to salad bowl pasta, ham cut into cubes or finger length strips, carrots, watercress leaves, and olives. Toss and cover salad and chill before serving.


Use freshly cooked leg ham instead of tinned ham or use leftover ham from a previous meal.

You can substitute pasta shells with whatever you have available.

Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

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