Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tortellini Salad Or Entree, You Choose

Happy sunny Tuesday to you all!  Are you as excited for warmer weather as I am?  For flowers and gardens and strawberries, fresh tomatoes and peaches and melons and all the wonderful things of summer?   Do you look forward to grilling summer fare?  To eating outside with gentle breezes blowing?  We love eating on our deck, enjoying balmy evenings, listening to the boats on the river.

There is that issue with cooking in the warm weather.  No one wants heavy food that requires turning the oven on and things that have to cook for hours.  That is winter fare.  We want to soak up every moment of daylight, of sun, of time outdoors with the family, playing, eating, laughing.  Recipes that you can make ahead and enjoy!

Today, I am sharing a recipe with you that is perfect for warm weather.  You can serve it as a side dish or as an entree.  It is full of protein, vegetables, pasta - all the good stuff.  And, it is served cold.  Total warm weather perfection.  Do you love tortellini as much as I do?  Makes my mouth water.  You get a bite of tortellini with some tomatoes and a banana pepper.  I want to make this now.

Here is what you need:

1 16 ounce package tortellini, cooked, drained, and cooled (I used spinach, use your favorite)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup pepperoncini peppers, cut in rings (I used banana pepper rings)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (white kidney beans)
black olives, sliced (optional, use as many as you want)
6 or more Tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese, grated  (fresh is best)


2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil

Cook the tortellini according to directions in salted water.    Drain, rinse, and let cool.  Put in a salad bowl.  Add the cherry tomatoes, chopped spinach, banana peppers, black olives, and cannellini beans.

Mix all the ingredients together.  Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice and EVOO.  Pour over ingredients in the bowl and mix until everything is coated.  I added some fresh cracked black pepper.  Grate fresh Parmesan all over the bowl, as much as you like.  (The more, the better.)

Wowsa, this is a fabulous salad.  You could also add some chicken, tuna, ham, or sliced pepperoni if  you wanted.  This is an excellent side dish or could be eaten as an entree, you decide.  It is SO good.

When there is fresh basil in my herb garden, I will toss in some chopped fresh basil too.  Yummmm.

Actually, this is one of those recipes where you could add a number of your favorite things.  Otherwise, make it like this and it is delicious.  Keep this recipe handy.  You are going to use it a lot this summer.  It's a nice twist on the everyday, ordinary pasta salad.  Keep it refrigerated and you can enjoy it for several days.  I had it for dinner, lunch, and dinner again.  It's that good.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

 Jeff Foxworthy


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