Laura Herring, author of the new Fast Days Cookbook shares a low calorie pasta recipe that will keep your hunger pangs at bay on those fast days

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Who says you can’t eat pasta on a fast day ?! You can eat this hot or cold, make it ahead, or make a larger batch to take to work during the week (eat it within a couple of days though, as the herbs won’t stay fresh for longer than that).

Wholewheat pasta releases energy more slowly than regular pasta, making it a healthier choice, but you can use white pasta if you prefer. The parsley in the gremolata should cancel out any lingering garlic breath, but if you have an important afternoon meeting in the diary, maybe use half a clove or leave the garlic out completely.

Gremolata is usually made with lemon zest, but this version is made (perhaps controversially) with lime – you can use either though. Coloured pasta – like beetroot (beet) or sun-dried tomato – looks great with all the bright greens too.

Serves 2 | 150 kcal


60 g (2 oz/²⁄³ cup) wholewheat pasta
4 asparagus spears, trimmedand chopped
50 g (2 oz) poached salmon fillet*
freshly ground black pepper
squeeze of lime juice
For the gremolata
15 g (½ oz/¾ cup) flat-leaf parsley
zest of 1 lime
1 small garlic clove

* You can buy this already cooked, but you can also easily cook your own by poaching the fish in water (maybe with a slice of lemon) for 15 minutes.


Boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. In the final minute, drop in the asparagus spears to cook quickly. Drain, but keep back a little of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Finely chop the parsley, then grate the lime zest and the garlic over the top. Mix together, chopping through to work the flavours into each other – the easiest way to do this is with a small sharp knife and a fork.

Place the pasta and asparagus in a bowl and gently fold through the gremolata, then flake through the salmon fillet. At this point, see if it could do with loosening up a little. If so, splash in a little of the reserved cooking water.

Season with freshly ground pepper and the lime juice.

This recipe is an extract from  The Fast Days Cookbook by Laura Herring  (Hardie Grant £12.99 RRP). Photography by Danielle Wood

Find out more about the  5:2 diet here  and discover great recipe ideas and  5:2 meal plans