The perfect side dish, lunch or light dinner!
Whenever I need to prepare a dish for a potluck or garden grill, there are a few ideas that I usually gravitate towards. One of those ideas is pasta salad! Why? Because it’s easy to prepare and I usually already have all the ingredients on hand. Also pasta salad always It’s delicious, and easy to make a vegetarian version that the meat-eaters in the group will still enjoy. I recently made this tortellini pasta salad. The cheese-filled tortellini are quick to prepare and eliminate the need to add extra cheese.
This seven-ingredient pasta salad is ready in 25 minutes, including 15 minutes of resting time to let the flavors melt together. It’s a perfect side dish, but I also love serving it as a light lunch or dinner. Just add some sautéed shrimp or grilled chicken for a more filling, higher protein meal.
What are tortellini?
Tortellini are small, ring-shaped filled pasta. They are similar to ravioli, but are significantly smaller. Some tortellini have meat fillings, but the ones we use for this recipe are filled with cheese (like a mix of ricotta, parmesan, and romano). You can usually find them on the fridge or freezer shelves in grocery stores, although some brands sell dried tortellini in the pasta aisle.
These noodles are just as easy to cook as any other noodle. Each direction of the package is different, but usually the tortellini must be placed in salted boiling water. Once they touch the water, set the timer for about three minutes for chilled tortellini, five minutes for frozen pasta, and ten minutes for dried pasta.
What makes this tortellini pasta salad so delicious?
Our secret ingredient for this tortellini pasta salad is the combination of pasta filled with cheese, hearty basil pesto and spicy red wine vinegar. This is where the flavors of pesto really come into their own: herbaceous basil, roasted pine nuts, salty parmesan and oil to bring it together. Of course, you don’t have to use a basil pesto. We have a great recipe for one oil-free pesto used the spinach which would taste amazing in this pasta salad recipe.
From then on, it’s just a matter of throwing the ingredients together. You also don’t have to mess up multiple bowls and cutting boards to achieve this. Just put the ingredients in a bowl and let the pasta salad sit for about 15 minutes to let the flavors melt together. You can easily prepare the pasta salad in advance and leave it covered in the refrigerator overnight. If there are leftovers at the end, they should be stable for up to three days.
Serve tortellini pasta salad
Serve this recipe as an accompaniment to any main course you would serve with a regular pasta salad. This can be sandwiches, grilled meat, pulled pork, grilled chicken or any number of vegetable dishes. Here are some of our favorite pairings:
- 1 lb Cheese tortellini cooked
- 1/4 Cup Basil pesto
- 2 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
- 1 Cup Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 Cup Red onion diced small
- 1 cucumber diced small
- 12th cups carrot shredded
SmartPoints (freestyle): 10
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