• Brianna Rhodes, RD, CD

Fresh Tortellini Pasta Toss

This is another great summer dish, full of flavor, crunch and fresh vegetables. Tortellini adds a bit more substance, so this recipe makes a great main dish. Also, leftovers make a great lunch the next day.

I am always looking for new pasta recipes, because I love pasta salads for a cool summer dinner. My husband always gives me a hard time when I make a hot meal on a day when it’s 90+ outside. Who can blame him though, right?

The thing I love about pasta salads is that they are so versatile. Really, it’s a matter of finding a sauce/dressing recipe that you like. Other than that, you can put anything you want in a pasta salad. It’s a great way to clean out your vegetable drawer! The endless combination of meat, noodles and colorful veggies is great.

Earlier this week I was looking for a tortellini recipe, because I wanted to try something new. For me, recipes are more like guidelines, as you can see in this picture. I think the only part of this recipe I didn’t change was the fact that I used tortellini! As does happen with experimenting, I ended up with a little too much sauce on this dish. I have adjusted the recipe I’m posting here to fix that.

I will be honest, my kids didn’t love this meal—they wanted to wipe the vinaigrette off of their pasta and ham. I think the balsamic vinegar is a little strong for them. But they thought the tortellini looked like flowers, which helped them eat it without too much complaint. It’s always good to give kids a chance to try new foods!

I like to pair pasta dishes with a side higher in protein. Cottage cheese is my favorite go-to for this. Cottage cheese is also a “safe” food for my kids—I always try to have something in the meal that I know they will like, so that it’s not too overwhelming. Overall, it was a great summer meal.

The Meal:

  • 12 oz of pasta (approximately 2 cups worth of pasta)

  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese

  • 1 ½ cups diced watermelon

Recipe Used in this meal:

Fresh Tortellini Pasta Toss

Serving size: 2 cups

Servings per recipe: 5-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb refrigerated tortellini (I used a 4 cheese flavor)

  • ½ pint of grape tomatoes (sliced in half)

  • ½ each bell pepper, sliced (green, orange, red, yellow)

  • ½ cucumber, peeled, sliced, quartered

  • 1 bunch of spinach, washed, chopped, stems removed

  • 10 oz ham

Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup Italian Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Once cooked, drain, rinse and cool in cold water.

  2. Thoroughly wash all vegetables. Chop and dice to bite-size pieces and place in large bowl.

  3. Add cooled tortellini to the vegetable bowl.

  4. Chop ham into bite-size pieces. Add to bowl.

  5. In a separate dish, add all ingredients for the vinaigrette. Stir to combine.

  6. Pour over pasta/vegetables, and stir to combine.

  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

Nutrition Facts Label for Entire Meal:

Nutrition Facts Label for Pasta Toss:

This recipe is moderate in fat content. That is because of the Oil/Vinegar based dressing. Use healthy fats like olive oil to make this. Also, the fat will aid in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A & K) found in the spinach.

RD and Me

Brianna Rhodes, RD, CD

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© 2016 RD and Me Nutrition Consulting, LLC