Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Garden Fresh Tortellini Pasta Salad

Cook's Notes:
One of the joys of summer is having garden produce readily available in your yard. This pasta salad takes advantage of garden fresh juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and fresh herbs. There's loads of added flavor with a light herb dressing and textures with  creamy avocado, corn, al dente cheese tortellini and  salty Parmesan cheese. It's a healthy vegetarian salad that can be made early in the day and refrigerated in an airtight container. I used both spinach cheese tortellini and spiral pasta for contrasts. Add crumbled Parmesan Cheese Crisps right before serving, Recipe adapted from averiecooks.com and serves 4-6.
 Garden Fresh Tortellini Pasta Salad
  • One 10-ounce package spinach cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup dry spiral pasta 
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup corn (fresh, or frozen that's been thawed may be used)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced (cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half, may be substituted)
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, laid loosely in measuring cup and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more if desired (feta, blue cheese, or your favorite shredded or crumbled cheese may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or lemon olive oil
  • 2 TB. lemon juice
  • 2 TB. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TB. honey
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes 
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp each  salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • Cook tortellini and spiral pasta according to package directions, al dente. Drain, and set aside. While tortellini and pasta cooks, prep and chop the remaining ingredients.
  • To a large bowl, add the avocado, corn, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, Parmesan cheese; set aside.
  • To a blender add olive oil, lemon juice (zest the lemon before juicing it), honey, Italian seasoning, parsley flakes, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and blend to mix well. Pour dressing over vegetables.
  • Add the tortellini and spinach cheese tortellini toss gently to combine. Taste and check for seasoning balance, making any necessary adjustments.

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