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Zucchini Noodle Soup With Avocado Salsa

SALSA
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 med. avocado, firmly ripe, peeled    and diced
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 med. fresh tomatoes, diced
3 green onions
1 med. garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

SOUP
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 med. cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
2 med. zucchini, diced
1 sm. red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. dried tomatoes, slivered, loosely packed
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, minced
2 c. water
1 c. buttermilk or plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
12 oz. dried pasta

SUGGESTED PASTA: Whole wheat ribbons, spirals, or shells. An hour or two
before serving time, make the salsa. You must use perfectly ripe tomatoes and avocado. The tomatoes should be a uniform bright red and the avocado should yield easily but only slightly to pressure when squeezed. Toast the cumin seeds and set aside. Toss the avocado with the lemon juice. Add the tomatoes with their juice, to the avocado. Slice the white portion of the onions and a couple of inches of the green into very thin rounds. Add to the salsa, along with the cumin seeds, garlic, and cayenne. Stir gently to combine well, then cover and set aside at room temperature so the flavors can blend. Yield: 6 servings.

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