I’m a Floridian and the concept of seasonal eating can get a little lost on us down here. When it’s hot out, I don’t care what month it is, I want warm weather food. It’s 74 degrees today here in South Florida (what’s that about a blizzard?). I wanted something light yet substantial for lunch and this Greek-inspired pasta salad looks more like something you’d find at a summer bbq than the beginning of winter. I’ve been eating such heavy food over the holidays that this was a welcome change. Northerners, bookmark this for the first sign of warm weather.
After my first bite, I began thinking of how great this would be served alongside grilled meat. It’s full of fresh, tangy flavor and so many pretty colors: red, green, orange, purple and white. This is more of a jumping off point than a recipe. You can add in anything else that feels Greek to you: olives, pepperoncini, spinach, sundried tomatoes. I’m not one to turn down too much cheese, but if you want to cut back a little bit you can substitute any short pasta for the tortellini (fusilli would be best, I think). To make this even easier, you can substitute 1/2 cup of your favorite bottled herb vinaigrette in place of the lemon vinaigrette. I was just making this for myself, but I would definitely double this if I was bringing it to a party.
Greek Tortellini Salad
Makes 3 lunch servings, 6 as a side
Highly adapted from The Sunset Cookbook
- 9 oz package tortellini (or other short pasta, such as fusilli or penne)
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup orange (or red or yellow) bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain.
While tortellini is cooking, make the dressing. Combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano and salt in a large tupperware container or bowl. Add drained tortellini and toss to coat. Add vegetables and gently stir to combine, making sure everything is coated with dressing. Cover and put in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours to let the flavors combine.
When ready to serve, stir in feta cheese and parsley (optional).