Tortellini Salad with Artichokes and Edamame ~ perfect for those busy nights when you want a nice healthy salad for dinner, but crave some protein and carbs along with it.
Let this serve as a reminder that some of the best meals result from a desperate raid of the pantry…
it’s how this tortellini salad recipe was born, and it went down like this ~ a random package of sausage tortellini stuffed in the cheese drawer meets a can of artichokes, an open jar of hearts of palm, some veggies from the crisper, a half bag of frozen edamame beans cinched with a hair clip, and a few fresh herbs from the motley collection in drinking glasses next to the sink. Not a bad result for such a questionable pedigree. It made a satisfying dinner and I didn’t have to run out to any store, yay!
Sharp readers probably noticed the pine nuts…pine nuts, specifically toasted pine nuts, make everything a thousand times better. No exaggeration. But I know they’re not always hanging around the kitchen because they’re ridiculously pricey Use walnuts instead if you like.
I love this kind of random recipe where the ingredients aren’t planned, they’re just thrown together by necessity. It’s the way most of us eat on a daily basis. Since I like to bring a Mediterranean vibe to my salads I try to keep certain key ingredients in stock.
Here are my pantry/fridge secret weapons that really help bring my ‘random’ salad recipes together into delicious meals…
- black olives, I keep multiples so I never run out, my current favorites are kalamatas from the olive bar.
- artichoke hearts, both canned and marinated in jars.
- hearts of palm.
- roasted red peppers.
- anything marinated or pickled like mushrooms, beets, or giardiniera.
- Nuts, preferably pine nuts, but toasted walnuts or almonds will do in a pinch.
- beans, lots of types, canned or, in the case of this salad, frozen.
- a fabulous extra virgin olive oil, the kind you can really taste.
- a good variety of specialty vinegars.
Because of the tortellini, I consider this to be a main course salad ~ I think hearty salads are such a great healthy dinner option, and I’ve explored all kinds here on the blog. There’s always the classic CHOPPED SALAD, and mine comes with an bonus spicy tomato vinaigrette dressing that really makes it special. You can turn leftover chicken into my GRILLED CHICKEN GREEK SALAD, or a can of tuna into THE PERFECT NIÇOISE SALAD.
The fresh tortellini (from the refrigerated section of your store) in this salad makes this salad hearty enough to be a meal in itself. You can use any variety you like, but my sausage and cheese really hit the spot!
- 8 ounce package of fresh tortellini, any variety
- 1/2 red onion, chopped into 1 inch chunks
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 13-ounce can artichoke quarters, drained
- 1 cup edamame frozen beans, thawed
- 1 cup sliced hearts of palm
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (toasting instructions below)
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp ground oregano
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried dill
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the tortellini gently in boiling salted water. I cook it a few minutes less than the package instructions state. Drain carefully and rinse in cold water, or put into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Be gentle with the pasta, you don't want to tear it. Drain and set aside to dry on a clean dish towel. Then add them to a large salad bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and taste to adjust anything. Set aside.
- Separate the layers of the onion chunks and add them to the salad bowl along with the peppers.
- Add the drained artichokes, edamame beans, hearts of palm, and dill to the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently with enough dressing to moisten everything thoroughly.
- To serve, scatter the olives and pine nuts over the top of the salad.
- To toast pine nuts, put them in a skillet over medium heat. I like to add a tablespoon of olive oil, but you don't have to use it. Stirring constantly, heat the nuts until they turn golden.
Make it your own ~
- You could use regular pasta in place of the tortellini. I would use fusilli, bow ties, or some other compact shape.
- Tortellini salad with pesto is a great alternative to the vinaigrette dressing.
- Try frozen and thawed limas or chickpeas in place of the edamame.
- Other quick meals you can make with tortellini from around the web ~