Pasta salad does not date back centuries, like many foods, but is a more modern creation thought to have appeared in the early-to-mid 20th century. My 21st century version calls for a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and fresh vegetables.
Is pasta salad an entrée or a side dish, you may ask? It can be en entire meal but I prefer to serve it as a side dish.
1 20-ounce package Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini
2 carrots (round thin diagonal slices)
2 green onions (sliced thin)
1 tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)
14-ounce can artichoke hearts (drained and chopped)
6-ounce can pitted black olives (sliced in half lengthwise)
½ cup grape tomatoes (sliced in half lengthwise)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese (cut into ¾-inch cubes)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons capers (in vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried oregano (garnish)
Cook the tortellini according to package instructions, drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine tortellini, carrots, onions, basil, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.
Whisk together olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Add capers. Pour over salad. Toss gently to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
To serve, garnish each serving of salad with a pinch of dried oregano.
Note: Use any kind of tortellini that you like. I like Buitoni because it is fresh. Their Mixed Cheese Tortellini is multi-colored, tasty, and perfect for this recipe.
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Chef Randy’s latest book: Ojai Valley Quarantine Cookbook
For additional recipes, see Chef Randy’s website at valley-vegetarian.com.
Chef Randy has been a vegetarian for over 40 years and eats local and organic grain, fresh fruit, and vegetables as much as possible. He is known locally as the “Healthy Chef.” His column, Chef Randy, is syndicated in California newspapers. See his website at Valley-Vegetarian.com for more recipes.
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