Kick off your week with a healthy dinner full of fresh ingredients and flavors, all while skipping the meat. The key to a successful Meatless Monday dinner is feeling satisfied by still including a protein source. By introducing more sustainable foods to your weekly diet, Meatless Monday will improve personal health and make the world a little greener. Check out www.meatlessmonday.com for more information on the amazing benefits and impact doing this just once a week can do for you and your family.
Prepare a quick and delicious tortellini pasta salad for your Labor Day party guests and hold the meat with this sweet and tangy twist on a party staple.
I love making big dishes that require very little cooking for holiday parties and gatherings with friends and family. And one of the easiest dishes to prepare is a pasta salad – because the only thing you need to cook IS the pasta. Also, I prefer to use heartier pastas like cheese-filled tortellini or miniature ricotta-stuffed raviolis. It makes the dish feel like a meal (rather than a side) without having to take the extra effort to grill chicken or shrimp with it. When the pasta salad ready to serve to my guests, I top the dish with fresh sliced basil.
Finally, here’s a great tip to stretch your pasta to feed more people: prepare a big bowl of chopped romaine lettuce, extra Parmesan cheese, and extra balsamic vinegar on the side. Your guests can then build a big lettuce salad with the pasta salad on top and the balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese to garnish! You definitely won’t be missing the meat with this complete meal, as it will easily feed a big crowd of friends and family!
Lemon Balsamic Tortellini Pasta Salad
- ½ c. Olive oil
- 3 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. Honey
- ¼ tsp. Oregano powder
- ½ tsp. Sea salt
- ¼ tsp. Cracked black pepper
Pasta Salad Ingredients:
- 20 oz. Cheese tortellini (any color)
- 1 c. Mixed Olives
- 1 c. Mini heirloom tomatoes
- 1 c. Mini Mozzarella balls
- ¼ c. Red onion slivers
- ¼ c. Pepperoncini slices
- ¼ c. Capers
- 1 tbsp. Lemon zest
- 1 oz. Fresh basil, sliced
- Chopped romaine lettuce, extra Parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Prepare packaged tortellini pasta as directed on the package. This usually includes boiling a pot of water, salting it, and boiling the pasta until al dente. Drain your pasta and set aside to cool while prepping the other ingredients.
- Whisk together the listed dressing ingredients except for the olive oil in a medium sized mixing bowl. Once those are combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil and then set aside.
- Prep the rest of the ingredients by cutting or slicing and measuring as directed in ingredients list. Cut olives into halves or quarters, slice tomatoes into halves or quarters, and slice some of the mozzarella balls into halves if they are too large.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cooked tortellini, olives, tomatoes, mozzarella balls, red onion slivers, pepperoncini slices, capers, lemon zest, and vinaigrette dressing.
- Top the finished pasta salad with the fresh sliced basil. Serve as is or if stretching the pasta to make an entrée, serve a big bowl of chopped romaine lettuce, extra Parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar on the side for guests to make their own big salads.
Please share your favorite Labor Day party food to make for family and friends in the comments. I hope you continue to return for more of Direct Energy’s weekly installments of Meatless Monday!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan