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Marinated Tomato & Tortellini Salad with cucumbers, onion, olives, avocado, cheese and fresh garden herbs.
Don’t forget the crusty bread to soak up all the juices in this tortellini salad!
It’s that time of year when tomatoes are incredibly beautiful, red, ripe and flavorful and all we can think about is having tomatoes at every meal. It took a long time for our tomatoes to get going this year. We had a super wet, cool spring, then jumped right into hot, hot, dry weather.
Now it’s cool again with non-stop dreary days of rain. It’s just now August and feels like the start of fall! What an odd weather cycle. Anyway – in between all this weather hoopla, we’ve got gorgeous tomatoes fresh from our garden to the table!
Try this unique method for imparting flavor into the tomatoes.
Fresh tomato sandwiches are probably my husband’s preferred method of using up the tomatoes, but salads like this are mine.
What makes this salad somewhat unique is that the tomatoes are first marinated in a bright vinaigrette loaded with fresh herbs. You can marinate them for an hour or so while prepping the other ingredients, or leave them on the counter for up to 4 hours. I like to throw in the onions with the tomatoes to take some of the bite out and add the tortellini once it’s cooked and cooled. You get the picture, it’s all good!
From there you’re free to get as creative as you want.
If you’re watching carbs (and who isn’t?) use rotisserie or grilled chicken instead of the tortellini for a nice protein packed salad. Sprinkle with crumbled feta in place of the cubed provolone, and maybe add a few chopped walnuts to the mix too. Be sure to include plenty of olives and sliced avocado to round out this main course salad.
TIPS for making our Marinated Tomato & Tortellini Salad:
- If you have a good olive bar at your local grocery store they may have assorted olives and cubed marinated cheese available in one combined mixture. I was able to pick up olives with cubed provolone and saved some time prepping the cheese.
- Smoked apple Gouda, feta or cheddar are also great in this salad.
- In years past, I’ve marinated grape and cherry tomatoes in this same vinaigrette. They work well but there’s something about a meaty tomato that speaks to me. Garden fresh herbs make this salad extra special, but dried herbs will work fine too.
- Substitute another pasta for the tortellini if preferred. A bow tie pasta or small spiral would be great too.
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Marinated Tomato & Tortellini Salad
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¾ cup canola oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 whole scallions sliced thin
For the salad:
- 3 large ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
- 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini cooked and cooled
- ¼ red onion sliced thin
- 1 avocado peeled then sliced or cubed
- 1 english cucumber peeled and cubed or sliced
- 1 cup cubed cheese like provolone cheddar or crumbled feta
- 1 cup assorted seedless olives
- Lettuce for serving
- Fresh ground black pepper for serving
- Lemon wedges for serving if desired
- In a large bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature for several hours or until ready to serve.
- Cook and cool the tortellini and drain well. Add the tortellini and the sliced red onion to the marinated tomatoes while preparing the other vegetables, if desired.
- To serve, line a large salad bowl or 4 individual bowls with lettuce. Using a slotted spoon, divide the tomatoes, onions and tortellini between the salad bowl(s). Add all remaining vegetables, olives and cheese. Top with fresh ground black pepper and pass the remaining vinaigrette for drizzling on individual servings. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.
- Great served with crusty bread to soak up all the juice.
- Substitute rotisserie or grilled chicken for the tortellini for a protein packed hearty meal.
- Add chickpeas if desired or any of your other favorite vegetables.
Here are a few more of our favorite tomato recipes you might like:
Spicy Summer Tomato Jam – not too sweet, but loaded with rich flavor. Great slathered on a biscuit or a grilled cheese sandwich. You won’t believe how delicious this jam is on everything!
Savory Tomato Cobbler – it’s hard to come up with enough superlatives to describe this wonderful, delicious, slightly sweet, savory, rich and absolutely delightful Tomato Cobbler direct from our garden to the table! This is a must make with your summer tomatoes!
Easy Tomato Confit ~ sweet summer tomatoes slow cooked in the oven with olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and a handful of fresh thyme. There are so many ways to use these tomatoes – check it out!
For a few more creative and delicious ways to use summer tomatoes, check out these wonderful posts! I could dig into a bowl of this Easy Tomato Tortellini Soup from Amy at BellyFull. And, you’ll love the colors in this gorgeous Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho from Sue at The View from Great Island. And finally, check out these Baked Tomatoes with Mozzarella Parmesan from Becky at The Cookie Rookie. A terrific summer side dish!