If there is one dish I get asked to make more than any other, it would probably be Tortellini Salad. This pasta salad is hearty enough for a light lunch but is also a great side dish for a crowd.
Cortney, my beautiful daughter in law, requests this any time I give her an option.
It makes me happy to make something just for her.
She has given me the sweetest Grands this “Nona” could ever ask for.
Dan likes me to make this when he goes on his fishing trips. This is a great side dish for fried fish or anything cooked on a grill, which is all he eats when he goes on fishing trips.
Sometimes he just eats it while standing in the refrigerator with the door open. I usually just roll my eyes and tell him to get a plate. He doesn’t listen. That is the beauty of being an empty nester’s. We don’t have to set a good example unless we have visitors.
The thing about this salad is you can’t do it wrong. If you are missing an ingredient, just substitute something else, or just leave it out and move on. There is so much going on in this salad that one ingredient either way won’t matter.
It is always delicious – you really can’t mess it up.
Well maybe if you put ketchup on it – that might mess it up, but I don’t think mayonnaise would.
Somebody try that and get back to me, okay…
Here are the ingredients I use:
I find the most important ones are the Parmesan cheese, the artichoke hearts, the salami, and of course the tortellini. The vegetables I make do with what I have on hand. Feel free to go wild. I have added broccoli, cauliflower and peas and it was all eaten. Just follow your heart. You won’t be sorry.
The first step is shred the carrots and chop the celery.
Then chop the onions and peppers.
Then slice the tomatoes, do this quickly –
Here is how:
Take two matching lids, they need a small lip on them to keep the tomatoes contained. Butter tub lids work as well as small Tupperware or whatever you have.
Fill the lid with tomatoes and place the second lid (with the lip down) on top of the tomatoes.
Hold in place and run a sharp knife in between the lids, slicing all of the tomatoes at the same time.
(Please disregard the man thumb)
I had to mash down a bit hard on the left side of the picture because I had to let go of of the knife while I was taking the picture. You don’t have to mash down so hard. I just didn’t want to lose a toe if the knife fell to the floor.
Gentle pressure will do here.
I can’t tell you how much time this little trick has saved me over the years. Seriously, before I learned this trick I use to stand and slice those little buggers one at a time.
Slice the olives the same way.
Oh and green olives are good here too. I didn’t have any so I did without. (You wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t said something. That is the magic of this salad.)
Add a jar of artichoke hearts, drain them first and smush them in your hands and break them up into pieces.
Slice the salami in small pieces.
Mix it all together with about a cup of Parmesan cheese. Add more if you want. I always do. You can never go wrong with extra cheese.
Cook the cheese filled tri-color tortellini until just tender, drain and rinse in cool water to stop the cooking process. Cool completely.
Gently toss together with the veggie mixture and add an entire bottle of Italian dressing.
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight is even better, before serving,
Give the first serving to your daughter in law – she will thank you – I am sure of it.
Here is the recipe:
2 bags of tri-color cheese tortellini
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 jar Artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 can black olives
4-6 oz hard salami chopped in small pieces
1 8 oz bottle of Italian Salad Dressing
- Cook tortellini per package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water until completely cool.
- Toss all ingredients together.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.
Note: if the salad seems dry, add a bit of olive oil and mix gently before serving.