Pasta Salad: My favorite! (w/ spinach, artichokes & sundried tomatoes)

Great for parties! Vibrant colors and taste...

I LOVE pasta and LOVE salad… and this is my combo of the two. A friend of mine made it for an end-of-the-school-year beach party and it was a hit. It’s not the quickest pasta salad to make but its combination of flavors and its gorgeous-ness {vibrant colors!} make it a favorite go-to for brunches / potlucks any kind of fun summer entertaining.  The original recipe is  a Rachel Ray / Food Network {made a few changes to it}. This makes apprx 8 servings:

ingredients for spinach artichoke pasta salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt {or other coarse salt}
  • 1 package of tortellini {stuffed with whatever you prefer – I usually use cheese-filled found in frozen section of market – not the super big bag but the regular size one}
  • 1/2 lb fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red roasted pepper, drained & chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped {I do mine through garlic press}
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped {or 1/2 tsp dried leaves}
  • 1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, coarsely chopped
  • Black pepper {a few shakes}

Cook tortellini, drain and cool cooked pasta by spreading them out on a large plate or cookie sheet {so they don’t clump together}

After draining pasta, separate onto plate, baking rack... and if dressing pasta later, add a bit of olive oil, gently toss & store bowl in fridge for a day.

Combine spinach, artichokes, roasted red pepper and red onion in large bowl.

Here, I doubled the recipe - was making it for two different events

In another bowl, add salt to garlic and mash into paste. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk in oil, thyme and pepper.

TIP: Dressing can be made ahead of time

Add this dressing to cooked tortellini, gently tossing to coat.

Add in spinach/artichoke/red pepper/red onion mixture, continuing to gently toss.

Can serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within 1-2 days.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP If not serving that day, I’d do the prep work ahead of time 1. cook pasta {coat with some olive oil to keep from sticking} – 2. make dressing – 3. chop veggie ingredients… then combine an hour or so prior to serving}

EVEN HEALTHIER VERSION: use whole wheat tortellini or pasta + add more spinach {+ more of other veggies you like}

 

 

 


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