Tortellini Pasta Salad is one of our favorites. I have been making this salad for many decades. It is so substantial, it is a dinner, not a side, for us. It is especially good when it is hot outside and you want a dinner that is delicious, yet, cool.
I found this salad many decades ago when I was to bring the salad part for a gathering of friends for a potluck-type of BBQ. thankfully, I tripled the recipe! There was nothing left but my bowl and lid when we went home!
I have made this with frozen and fresh tortellini pasta. I found the fresh tends to get mushy while cooking, no matter how carefully I time it. The salad shown was made with fresh tortellini pasta. You can see what I mean. It still tastes wonderful, of course.
There is a tip for those like me and my husband who seem to have trouble with bell peppers, especially raw, in the recipe. It is the skin. Roasting and removing the skins makes for mushy bell peppers, not something you want in a cold salad. When my husband, then me, started having trouble with the bell peppers, I added them to the salad for the flavor, we did not eat them though. It was maddening. We love bell peppers. Give the tip a try if you have problems with them too.
You will need a very large salad bowl. One day, I will get a glass one. For now, I am still using my ancient Tupperware salad bowl. It is an ugly yellow, scratched from decades of use, but it works and the lid works well. So well, it is still a booger to put on and remove. laughing…
Enjoy the salad! It is very easy to make. I always double it so we can eat it for 3 days, usually during a heat wave. No, there is no fancy “plated” image of the salad. I scooped some into my bowl that night and ate it, forgetting to get the “serving” photo. What can I say? I was hungry!
Tortellini Pasta Salad
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard (NOT the condiment!)
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp parsley, chopped fresh OR dried
16 to 18 oz cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1 small red onion, sliced in slivers
1 small red bell pepper, sliced in slivers*
1 small green bell pepper, sliced in slivers*
*If you have trouble with raw bell peppers:
Take a potato peeler and peel the peppers. To get into the crevices, I found cutting them in half after the peeling as well as I could, then getting the remaining bits is much easier. Remove all seeds and membranes, rinse and cut into slivers. No boiling stomach from the skins, even if they are home-grown &/or organic.
Tortellini Salad Dressing
Combine the dressing ingredients together, whipping with a whisk very well to thoroughly blend; or put into a jar and shake until well blended.
Cook the tortellini according to the packages directions**. rinse lightly with cold water and drain well, shaking the colander to get as much water off the tortellini as possible.
Transfer to a very large salad bowl with a sealing lid. (You can also cover with plastic wrap if not.) Add the bell peppers, onion and dressing. Stir gently to blend all together. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled- at least 2 hours. Longer is better.
After putting a serving of the tortellini pasta salad in a bowl, you can sprinkle the salad with grated mozzarella or a favorite cheese. Himself does, I do sometimes.
** Cooking hint for the tortellini:
When the water boils after adding the tortellini to the pot, lower the flame a little and cover with the pot lid. Be sure to leave a little steam vent by tipping the lid to prevent boil-overs. Putting the lid on the top ensures that it is evenly cooked and tender. Those at the top tend to not cook as well, otherwise. this is only my personal experience. If you do not have this issue, cool beans!