Bring this super-fresh tortellini salad to any picnic and watch it disappear! Loaded with a rainbow of Mediterranean ingredients and tossed in a tangy citrus balsamic dressing.
The LAST day of April is upon us, y’all. Do you realize that we are unofficially ONE MONTH out from summer?! I know summer technically doesn’t begin until June 21st, but in my family summer ALWAYS begins on Memorial Day weekend which is when we break out all the summer stops.
Grilling. Picnic food. Swimming. Summer walks. Water fights. Wait, what?
Yes, water fights do happen around here on a regular basis in the summertime. If you come over to visit me and if you were to EVER see my siblings changing into their swimsuits and gathering ammo (i.e. squirt guns and water balloons) head for the hills and fast.
Last 4th of July, those kiddos took their water fight business one step too far. Care to hear it? I guess we’re already off-track so we might as well keep going here.
So the whole extended family is over to celebrate the 4th right? I’m outside standing at the grill, sweating up a storm flipping chicken, burgers and corn on the cob and would you like to guess what those crazy kids did?
THEY AMBUSHED ME. Honest! I have nowhere to go because if I were to leave the grill and run for the house, all my meat would have burned black. So I just had to stand there and let them pelt me with water balloons and squirt gun water bullets. All the while, using my own body to shield my precious meat from the sprays of honest-to-goodness sibling betrayal.
So yes, if anyone wonders why I hate summer water fights, that’s my reason right there. My 15-year old brother Michael was undoubtedly the ring-leader of that whole traumatizing affair and I’m still planning my revenge on him. Any ideas?!
Okay, I really did not mean to make this post take 5 million years to read. Let’s just talk salad for the rest of the time now, m’kay?
How do we all feel about Mediterranean food? We’re all lovers right? I’ll take that as a YES, because nobody in their right mind could hate on food as fresh and colorful as Mediterranean-style food is.
Let’s get real here: This tortellini pasta salad has SUMMER written all over every millimeter of it.
Take a look at the checklist why dontcha’?
- Mediterranean ingredients. Artichoke hearts (gah!) black olives, avocado, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, and feta. Mountains of feta because I am an official Feta Freak.
- Pasta. Cheese-filled pasta to be exact. Always a good idea.
- A citrus-y balsamic vinaigrette. No creamy, calorie-loaded dressings to take the spotlight away from the fresh Mediterranean goodness!
And that right there is all this ginormous bowl holds. Seriously so simple, but the FLAVORS, people! They kick ‘ya straight in the tastebuds and back again.
Those hamburgers you’re undeniably going to end up grilling pretty soon here need a good buddy and this salad promises to be just that. This recipe makes a HE-UGE portion of salad, but I wouldn’t suggest doing something crazy like halving the recipe. You’re gonna want it ALL.
This is just one of those salads that is undoubtedly going to grace your picnic table multiple times this summer. If not that, then most definitely your midnight-snack table. Yes, I have one of those. Doesn’t everybody?
Let us all go forth now and make salads! It’s practically summer. ♥
- 22 oz tortellini pasta, cooked according to package directions and 1/2 cup cooking water reserved
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 can (15 oz) black olives, drained sliced
- 1 can (15 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely diced
- 1 large sweet pepper, diced
- 1 medium ripe avocado, diced
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- In a large bowl, combine cooked tortellini pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, artichokes, pepper, avocado, and feta cheese. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over pasta mixture and gently stir to coat. Stir in reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Season salad with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with additional feta cheese if desired.
- Refrigerate salad until ready to serve.