This pasta salad is so good! Full of delicious Mediterranean flavors, it makes a great side for a party or brown-bagged for lunch. As written it is a great vegetarian dish but you can also use chicken or prosciutto tortellini. Feel free to serve right away, but I really prefer to make this the night before (or even a couple of nights before). It gives the spinach time to wilt a bit and allows the dressing to really marinate the other ingredients. It serves a crowd but lasts for awhile in the fridge-perfect for mixing up on Sunday and bringing to work for lunches all week.
This salad is not your typical mayo-laden party fare. It is lighter and fresher yet still hearty and full of flavor. The dressing soaks into the pasta and marinates the vegetables and the result is a lightly dressed, bright combination.
Spinach, Artichoke, and Tortellini Pasta Saladmakes 12 cups, prep 30 min, cook 10 min, adapted from Rachel Ray, 30 Minute Meals
- 1 (20 oz) package fresh cheese tortellini
- 2 tbsp oil
- 8 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 red onion, minced
- 2 tbsp jarred roasted red pepper, minced
- 1 (14 oz) can baby (small) artichoke hearts, quartered
- 1/4-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped or whole
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, julienned (look for the ones you can buy in bulk from the olive bar)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Boil a large pot of water. Add oil and salt water. Add tortellini and boil 4-5 minutes or until tender but still firm.
- Drain pasta and spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet to cool. Refrigerate if desired.
- In a large bowl, add chopped spinach, onion, red pepper, artichoke hearts and olives. Toss.
- On a cutting board, sprinkle minced garlic with coarse salt. Mash garlic with the flat of your knife, scraping back and forth until garlic becomes a paste.
- Scrape up the garlic paste with your knife and add it to a small bowl or jar.
- Add red wine vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, and black pepper. Whisk or shake to combine.
- Pour dressing over spinach. Toss well. Add cooled pasta, tomatoes, and feta.
- Toss again and refrigerate until ready to serve.