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Tortellini and Vegetable Salad
Here's a unique twist on the popular pasta salad. Here, tortellini is used instead of the usual penne, farfalle, or elbow-shaped pasta, and summer's best seasonal vegetables are thrown into the mix for a healthier, more nutritious pasta salad that's sure to please.
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- One 9-ounce package fresh cheese-filled tortellini
- 1 Cup broccoli florets
- 2 Tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small eggplant, diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
Calories Per Serving860
Folate equivalent (total)263µg66%
- 6 slices bacon
- 20 ounces fresh cheese-filled tortellini
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook tortellini in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and rinse under cold water.
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar to make the dressing.
In a large bowl, combine broccoli, tortellini, bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds and red onion. Pour dressing over salad, and toss.
- 1 (16 ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 4 ounces sliced pepperoni, quartered
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives
- 1 (6.5 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
- salt and black pepper to taste
Cook the tortellini according to package instructions, drain in a colander set in the sink, and rinse with cold water.
Place the tortellini, pepperoni, green onions, olives, artichoke hearts, and mozzarella cheese in a large salad bowl.
Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, Italian seasonings, and salt and pepper in a bowl, and pour over the salad ingredients. Gently stir to combine, and refrigerate to chill before serving. For even better flavor, let chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Tortellini Salad Recipes
I think that tortellini is one of my favorite convenience foods. It's always in my freezer, it's easy to cook, and the results are simply spectacular. It's much easier to just cook frozen tortellini for three minutes than to boil pasta for 8-10, constantly checking for that elusive "al dente" doneness point. And in the summer, I make lots of tortellini salad recipes.
Tortellini comes in several varieties. Dried tortellini is found in the pasta aisle. Refrigerated tortellini is usually displayed near dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. And frozen tortellini is found in the freezer department. Frozen is my favorite. It also comes in several flavors: plain cheese, chicken, and fabulous variations on sausage, pesto, and sun dried tomato. And it won't go bad on you!
This pasta is super easy to cook. I recommend the frozen variety, because all you really have to do is reheat it. Add the tortellini to boiling water and after three minutes, when all the little guys are floating, they're done. Taste one to make sure it's hot. Then add to these delicious salad recipes.
- 1 9 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 6 cups torn mixed greens
- 1 ½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 medium yellow or red sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips (1 cup)
- ¼ cup snipped fresh basil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup fat-free toasted garlic-and-onion croutons
In a large saucepan, cook the tortellini according to package directions, except omit oil and salt drain. Rinse with cold water drain.
In a large bowl, combine tortellini, mixed greens, mushrooms, sweet pepper, and basil.
For dressing, in a screw-top jar, combine white wine vinegar, water, oil, sugar, garlic, and black pepper. Cover and shake well. Pour over tortellini mixture toss to coat.
Divide the tortellini mixture among four serving bowls or plates. Top with the croutons. Makes 4 main-dish servings.
Asparagus — the most versatile vegetable of spring — is the star of this tortellini salad
If you shop mostly at grocery stores, where the produce may or may not be connected all that much to seasonality, the appearance of one of my favorite vegetables every spring might not mean all that much to you. You’ve been seeing it. But if you’re a farmers market devotee like I am, the first glimpse of local green (or maybe purple, or white) spears in the first warm weeks after winter wanes makes you feel like exclaiming the way Steve Martin’s character in “The Jerk” does upon the arrival of the new phone books: The asparagus is here!
Now, what do you do with it? Roast, broil, braise, grill, stir-fry: There’s really no end to the ways you can cook it (or not — shaved raw is a really good way to go).
The new America’s Test Kitchen book, “Vegetables Illustrated,” is full of ideas for asparagus and dozens of other vegetables. And the book is worth buying for the tips alone, such as how best to store (standing the spears up in a glass filled with 1 inch of water, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated) to peel or not (yes if they’re thick, no if they’re pencil-thin) and whether you should follow that old advice to snap them at their breaking point (no, too wasteful).
The recipe I tried for this tortellini salad included another crucial pointer: to immediately plunge blanched asparagus into an ice bath after briefly boiling, setting the spears’ bright color and preventing them from overcooking. It keeps the texture crisp, all the better to pair with the tender cheese tortellini and fresh tomatoes. The salad gets the rest of its flavor from the ingredients in classic pesto, making this ideal for the warmer days of spring and even early summer. It tastes great at room temperature, too, which means picnic planning is in order.
The salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
- 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Line a baking sheet with paper towels or lay a clean kitchen towel on the counter.
Trim 1 inch from the ends of the asparagus stalks. If some of the stalks are much thicker than a pencil, use a vegetable peeler to remove the woody exterior from the bottom half of each one. Cut the stalks and spears into 1-inch lengths.
Add the asparagus to the boiling water cook until crisp-tender and a more vivid shade of green, about 2 minutes do not drain the water. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the ice-water bath until cooled. Spread the asparagus on the baking sheet or kitchen towel to dry.
Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook, stirring often, until tender, according to the package directions. Drain the tortellini, rinse it with cold water, and drain again, leaving it slightly wet.
While the tortellini are cooking, toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, shaking the pan to avoid scorching, until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely.
Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic and the 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a serving bowl. Add the cooked tortellini and tomatoes, tossing to incorporate, and let sit for 15 minutes.
Chop the basil leaves and add them to the bowl, along with the asparagus, Parm and the toasted pine nuts. Taste, add more salt and pepper as needed, and serve.
Tortellini Salad…and a whole lot of fresh vegetables
This is a “why didn’t I think of this earlier in my life?” kind of recipe. It is easy, simple, fresh and delicious. And, all you need is an armful of vegetables and a package of tortellini from the refrigerator section at the grocery store. We ate it as an entrée for dinner, but it could just as easily have been toted off to a picnic or potluck. I challenged myself to stuff as many vegetables into this as I could. I ended up with broccoli, asparagus, red bell peppers, carrots, red onions, and scallions…but as I chopped away at home I was planning for the next round when I will try fresh baby spinach, heart of palm or maybe artichoke hearts…and perhaps use mushroom stuffed tortellini and crumbled goat cheese. Enough dreaming…following is what I actually created. This was inspired by a recipe in the New Elegant But Easy Cookbook by Marian Burros and Lois Levine.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 package of refrigerated cheese stuffed tortellini
- 2 cups of broccoli, chopped into small florets
- 1 pound of asparagus, chopped into one inch pieces, (not the tough ends)
- 1 quarter of a red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 red bell pepper sliced thinly
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped, white part only
- 1 cup carrots, julienned
- Shredded parmesan cheese
- 7or 8 slices of hard salami, cut into slivers (optional)
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and put them in the refrigerator. Cook the tortellini according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and rinse it gently with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking further.
- Cut the asparagus into small pieces. Chop the broccoli florets into small pieces. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the broccoli pieces and asparagus pieces for about one and a half minutes. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the vegetables form cooking further. Combine the pasta and the vegetables. Gently mix in the dressing and season with salt and pepper and put it in the refrigerator to cool.
This is a very simple dressing that you will incorporate into other salads. The mayonnaise really does hold the dressing together in a creamy state. It is a great little food factoid for when you need to thicken up a dressing a little bit.
I don’t like the little green pods that fly all over everything when I chop broccoli, so I cut a cross on the stem as shown in the photo and then pull them apart. When you do this, it splits on natural lines and the pods don’t all come off the floret. It is more trouble, certainly, but I just like it that way.
You can either bring it to room temperature to serve it, or eat it cold. It is great topped with fresh shredded parmesan cheese. At the end, I ended up adding slivers of hard salami to the salad and it was great. But it is just as tasty without it if you want to keep it meat free. It is also worthwhile to save a little of the dressing to toss with the salad right before serving it as a lot of it is absorbed while it is in the refrigerator.
If you don’t have a microplane for shredding parmesan cheese, you really should get one. I love mine.
What I Love About Tortellini Salad
This vibrant tortellini salad can satiate even the hardiest of appetites. Zesty homemade vinaigrette blend savory meat, rich cheese and crisp summer veggies to create a complex flavor profile that’s hard to resist! Here are even more reasons to love it.
- Incredible flavor
- Eats like a meal
- One bowl wonder
- Cheese filled pucker pockets
- Really easy to make
Tortellini Casserole variations
- Swap veggies: If you aren’t sure about some of the veggies in this casserole, swap them out for equal amounts of another veggie you do enjoy. Other ideas that would work well:
- chopped broccoli florets (boil for 2 minutes with the tortellini)
- summer squash for zucchini (sauté it with the mushrooms)
- diced onion and/or garlic (sauté in the skillet before adding in the mushrooms, squash, and peppers)
- sweet peppers for a green bell pepper
- chop a small chicken breast or a few thighs, sauté with salt, pepper, and a few seasonings, and add into the dish. (I would not bake the sautéed chicken, because it will dry out. Instead, stir it into individual portions).
- leftover chopped grilled chicken. Again, stir it into individual portions instead of baking.
Neufchâtel is sometimes labeled “1/3 less fat than cream cheese.” Cream cheese and Neufchâtel cheese are extremely similar, but the Neufchâtel keeps this sauce on the lighter side.
How to Make It
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat add peas for the last 6 minutes. Drain, and cool 10 minutes place pasta and peas in a medium bowl.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave zucchini into ribbons.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add garlic cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add zucchini stir constantly until zucchini is slightly softened, about 1 minute. Add zucchini mixture to tortellini mixture in bowl.
Combine rind, juice, salt, pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Drizzle over tortellini mixture toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with basil, if desired.
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