Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tortellini Pasta Salad (with asparagus & tomatoes)

This summer we seem to need a lot of quick & easy dinners for the week. Pasta is usually quick and easy, especially pasta salad. It can be made ahead of time, or each component can be made ahead of time and then assembled on another day. A couple of summers ago, we fell in love with this Mozzarella, Tomato & Tortellini Pasta Salad but we wanted something a little different. I remembered this recipe from The Make-Ahead Cook: 8 Smart Strategies for Dinner Tonight (from America's Test Kitchen) and we used it as our inspiration.
Cheese tortellini, blanched asparagus, cherry/grape tomatoes, fresh basil (or mint), and a lemon-olive oil dressing. We added some lemon zest and a lot more pepper. It was delicious! Very simple to make but very tasty and filling.

Tortellini Pasta Salad (with asparagus & tomatoes)


  • 16 oz cheese tortellini
  • 3 lbs asparagus (the Costco package), trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
  • package of cherry/grape tomatoes (Costco package)
  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • fresh basil or mint
  • salt & pepper


  • Cook tortellini according to package. Drain and set aside to cool. 
  • Blanch asparagus. You can use the water from cooking the pasta. Depending on the thickness of the asparagus, it can take 3-5 minutes. 
  • Make the dressing. A good starting point is 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice, depending on your personal taste, seasoned with salt & pepper..
  • Since we were making each part ahead of time and assembling the salad later in the week, we drained the asparagus well and then placed it in a paper towel lined container.
  • We drained the tortellini well, placed it in a bowl, and drizzled in just a bit of the dressing and tossed it with the tortellini. We snapped on the lid and put it in the refrigerator.
  • For us, this yields 3 dinners. The first dinner, I eyeballed it and transferred 1/3 the tortellini and 1/3 the asparagus to another bowl. I washed and halved 1/3 of the grape tomatoes, salted & peppered them, and transferred them to the pasta & asparagus bowl. We used about 7-8 big basil leaves, rolled up and sliced thinly. I also eyeballed & added 1/3 the dressing and zest from about half a lemon then mixed it all together. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The official recipe is here. It includes shallot, garlic, and pine nuts.

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