I seem to make this tortellini salad whenever I go to a pot luck, picnic or family get together. This salad is so good, you could literally sell it.
It’s also one of those recipes that I don’t measure. So the amounts in this recipe certainly can be “finagled” to suit your taste. If you’re making more tortellini, put more vegetables in, less, put less in. That’s whats great about salads…you can put your favorite ingredients in, and call it your own. Whatever you put in, make sure you use lots of fresh herbs. If using tomatoes, only use whole cherry. Sliced tomatoes will get mushy for any leftovers.
With this recipe though, the results you get, depend on the method you use to make it. After making the tortellini, make sure to drain with a slotted spoon into a colander (save the water to blanch the broccoli), and put on a tray to completely cool and DRY OUT. This way the dressing and all of the great herbs in it will surely stick to the tortellini. I use this same method for pasta, and even potato salad. The dressing or mayo sticks much better to the pasta when it starts out dry.
As the tortellini is cooking and cooling, prepare the vegetables and place in the Ziploc bag. Add the herbs and Good Seasons, and marinate in the fridge for about an hour. The dressing gives a head start to marinating the vegetables before you add them to the pasta.
- 2 pkgs (12 oz.) fresh three cheese tortellini (I used Buitoni)
- 2 or 3 small zucchini (halved, and thinly sliced
- 2 large heads broccoli crowns
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 or 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 can black olives
- 1 pkg cherry tomatoes
- 1 jar red roasted peppers, cut into strips
- 1 jar or about 1 c. fresh marinated mushrooms
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ c. fresh basil, chopped
- salt & pepper
- 1 Tbsp celery seed
- ¾ c. – 1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 or 3 envelopes dry Good Seasonings Italian dressing
- canola oil
- red wine vinegar
- Cook tortellini according to package directions. About 2 minutes before tortellini is cooked, put broccoli into boiling water for about 2 minutes to blanch. Remove broccoli and immediately run under cold water to stop cooking (do not rinse tortellini). Drain and lay out tortellini on a cookie sheet or tray until cooled and fairly dry & sticky (this ensures the dressing and herbs, etc. will stick to tortellini).
- Make Good Seasons Italian dressing. Put all vegetables (including broccoli), herbs, spices, cheese and dressing in a jumbo Ziploc bag or sealed container. Get all air out of it and zip closed. Put refrigerator for a couple hours or so to marinate.
- Mix tortellini and vegetables together. Adjust with more dressing & cheese, if necessary.
- Can be kept in the refrigerator for several days. Just be careful not to use ingredients that will get soggy (cut tomatoes, pepperoni, cubed cheese, etc), unless you're eating all right away.