PSA: This is not your typical pasta salad! I am not a huge fan of pasta salad. I know people rave about it, and it is a staple at any pot luck or cookout…but I just don’t get what all of the hype is about.
I think part of the reason I am not a fan is because there always seems to be a LOT of pasta and the other ingredients are usually lacking. Also, I always am left wishing I had more dressing. It’s usually dry or just tastes kind of blah.
Well, let me tell you, this Tuscan Tortellini Salad is anything but blah! First of all, instead of using plain pasta, cheese filled tortellini takes this dish up a notch. Tons of hearty chunks of pepperoni and salami turn this side dish into a full fledge meal! And throw in some spinach and sun-dried tomatoes for those much needed colorful veggies and…well, you have yourself the perfect pasta salad for pasta salad haters!
I’m also not a huge fan of bottled Italian dressing. Most of them have a weird wang, and as a whole, I generally prefer homemade dressings. But don’t worry, the one I used for this salad is only partly homemade making it a little easier and faster to throw together!
- cheese tortellini, cooked and cooled completely
- fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (reserve the oil for the dressing)
- 1 can sliced black olives
- salami, sliced into strips
- pepperoni, quartered
- fresh mozzarella pearls (or if you can’t find the pearls, just cut an 8oz chunk into small cubes
- One packet Italian Seasonings dressing mix
- the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
- approximately 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, then cool completely. I usually do this the day before and let it cool in the fridge overnight. To make the dressing, pour the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a 1/2 c measuring cup. Fill the remainder of the measuring cup with extra virgin olive oil. Mix oil with the remaining dressing ingredients. Toss tortellini with all of the other salad ingredients and top with the dressing, Toss to coat and serve! I prefer to add the dressing right before I am going to eat it to ensure it doesn’t absorb into the pasta and you get more flavor.