Here is a favorite, vegetarian salad I’ll be making soon for this week’s #FlashbackFriday. As soon as our weather starts to warm up and the farmer’s market kick back into season, I cannot wait to make salads and take advantage of everything that is in season ~ hello asparagus, my green stalky friend! Leafy green salads, Kale Salads, Spinach Salads are all delicious and refreshing, but, sometimes, you just want something more than putting the garden on your plate (as The Husband would say…actually, he usually asks me if our salad is the result of me weeding the garden…kinda true lol.) This Sweet Pepper Tortellini salad brings together cheesy tortellini pockets with nutty chickpeas, tangy sweet cherry peppers and crisp asparagus and tomatoes in a delicious Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Oh ya….it really is as good as it sounds.
This pasta salad can double as a side salad for you to take to your cookout this summer, but, it also works well as a balanced meatless meal.
SWEET PEPPER TORTELLINI SALAD (print it!)
- 16 oz. Live Smart Six Cheese Tortellini, about 4.5 cups
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 lb. asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup sweet cherry peppers, chopped, juice reserved
- 16 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Bring to boil about 6-8 cups of water with 2 tsp. salt in a large soup pan. Add asparagus and blanch for 2-4 minutes. Remove immediately and place in an iced cold water bath to stop the cooking. Add the tortellini to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Combine the tortellini with tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, cherry peppers, chickpeas and mozzarella balls in a large bowl. Toss and set aside.
3. Whisk together the reserved cherry pepper juice (about 1-2 Tbsp.), balsamic, lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over the tortellini salad, toss and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill slightly before serving.
Makes 8 servings, 1 heaping cup each, 7 points+ or 9 Smartpoints
Nutritional information per serving calculated at caloriecount.com
STEP – BY – STEP:
I really like the stats on this product with a recognizable ingredient list and only 6 Smartpoints a serving.
This recipe is so incredibly simple and it goes together in minutes. For all those wondering what people are talking about when they say to blanch something….this step – by – step is for you.
Simply bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus for 2-4 minutes. You pretty much want to take it out as soon as it turns a bright green color.
I use this fancy strainer so I can drop the tortellini in right after I take the asparagus out.
Scoop the asparagus from the boiling water into the iced bath to lock in the green color and stop the cooking process. That is what blanching is all about…super easy, yet, it sounds so fancy to say you blanched something.
Drop in half the bag of the cheese tortellini and cook about 4 minutes so that it’s cooked through without being overdone…it should be a little al dente (have chew power).
While the tortellini cooks, I build my salad…beans, spinach and tomatoes for color….
Sea salt and peppered fresh mozzarella balls for delicious cheesy surprises in the salad. I totally count this along with the beans as the “protein” in my salad.
Add in the asparagus and the “secret ingredient” ~ sweet cherry peppers!
Top with the cooked tortellini that I rinse in cold water after draining.
Toss…..and resist picking out the tortellini, mozzarella balls and sweet cherry peppers.
You can use any lemons in making this recipe, but, I used the sweet Meyer lemons one of my friends gave me from her tree (aren’t they beautiful?!)
Whisk together the dressing (sweet pepper juice, balsamic, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil). If you run out of white balsamic, use the brown balsamic and pretend it’s white.
Toss, chill slightly (about 30 minutes if you can manage waiting that long) and dive in!
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Have you ever made a tortellini salad? If so, what did you toss in your salad?