Summer Eats: Something-for-Everyone Tortellini Salad

Hmm.  Can you guess what Eleanor is thinking?

If you guessed “I’d rather be friends with a racist kangaroo than eat that,” you’d be absolutely right!  It’s a face I’ve become familiar with over the years.  That’s why I like this recipe.  You serve it like this:

Everyone chooses which toppings to put on — or not put on — the top of a pile of tortellini: things like fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, and other objectionable foods.  Those who want plain pasta can blah it up as they choose.

Grown-ups are rumored to even put a nice balsamic-lime dressing on top of the salad, too.  But that’s just a rumor.

Something-For-Everyone Tortellini Salad

  • 1 pound cheese tortellini (don’t substitute ravioli.  Ravioli, while great in its own floppy way, doesn’t salad-ify as well as tortellini.)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 fresh mozzarella, cubed*
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cool water (if you don’t, the tortellini will glom together in a Starchy Ball of Doom).  Put the tortellini, tomatoes, cheese, basil, and avocado in separate serving bowls.

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and balsamic vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, pile some tortellini on a plate, then add other ingredients as desired.

*Fresh mozzarella is the pure white, very soft stuff usually found in the “fancy” cheese sections of grocery stores.  Sometimes it’s packaged as bocconcini — little pre-made balls that you don’t even have to chop.  My kids call these “cheese marhsmallows” — it’s what we used in the photographs above. But you can substitute regular mozzarella if you want.

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