This salad works perfectly as a side dish or an appetizer—but it’s so good you might be tempted to make an entire meal out of it!
These pasta salads can be served as a light lunch (with soup or a salad of greens on the side), as a first course at dinner, or as a vegetarian dinner.
Both are very easy to make. The longest part is boiling the water and cooking the tortellini.
Both recipes were adapted from ones by DeLallo, a specialist in fine Italian imported food.
This recipe was designed as appetizer or skewers, but we have enjoyed it as much (and with less work) served in a bowl as a composed salad (photo #1).
The pesto is combined with olive oil to make a thinner sauce.
We had a jar of pepperoncini and another of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, which we drained and added to the mix.
You can also add olives.
And you don’t have to use cheese tortellini. You can find herb, pumpkin, spinach, seafood and meat fillings, including chicken and pork. But the vegetarian versions work better in pasta salad recipes.
Ingredients For 10 Small Servings
To serve as a salad instead of skewers, don’t combine the ingredients but place them artfully in a bowl or on a platter. Serve the dressing in a pitcher for drizzling.
1. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package instruction. Drain. As it cools…
2. COMBINE the pesto and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the tortellini to the bowl and carefully stir to coat the pasta. Allow the tortellini to cool prior to skewering.
3. GENTLY thread the ingredients onto skewers. Save a few basil leaves to chop and sprinkle over skewers as a garnish.
Here’s a fusion pasta salad: Italian tortellini with Greek salad ingredients (photo #4).
The dressing is also Greek: olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and oregano.
Ingredients For 6 Servings
1. BRING a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain, rinse and let cool.
2. ADD the tortellini to a large bowl. Mix in the artichokes, pimento/cherry tomatoes, olives, onion, bell pepper and cucumber, plus optional ingredients.
3. POUR the dressing over pasta salad and toss well to coat. Crumble the feta on top, and garnish with the basil. Add salt and and pepper to taste (note that feta cheese is salty).
4. TOAST the pita bread if desired.
*We like lots of roasted red pepper, so we use a large jar. We additionally add the cherry tomatoes
*English cucumbers were bred in the U.K. to create a cucumber more desirable for cucumber sandwiches. It has tender flesh, with a thin, edible peel and tiny or no seeds. Some stores sell it as a burpless cucumber, European cucumber, hothouse cucumber or seedless cucumber.