If there are two things my daughter loves to eat, they are pasta and cheese sotortellini is naturally one of her favorite foods. The recipe below is an attempt to make a healthy tortellini dish, that my daughter would enjoy, and maybe get her to eat a few veggies at the same time! I first made a tortellini pasta salad a few years ago from a recipe in a magazine. I have completely lost that original recipe, and can’t remember what magazine it was in, but this dish is basically a healthier, vegetable-filled version of that recipe. The lemon and herbs give this dish a very light, summery flavor that is appealing to children and adults, while the cheesy tortellini makes it filling enough to serve for dinner. However, this would also be a great side dish with some grilled chicken, if it doesn’t seem filling enough on its own.
Whole-wheat tortellini is sometimes hard to find, but I try to use it whenever possible since it contains at least twice as much fiber as regular tortellini. The original recipe for tortellini pasta salad used store bought Italian dressing, but this homemade dressing has a much fresher, lighter flavor that I prefer. Almost any combination of vegetables would work in this recipe, as long as the harder vegetables cook for several minutes before the pasta is added. This dish could definitely be served cold or room temp, like a pasta salad, so it’s great for pot lucks or picnics.
Lemon Herb Tortellini with Veggies
2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 lb. whole-wheat cheese tortellini
1 cup frozen mixed peppers or other frozen vegetables
1 recipe homemade Zesty Italian Dressing
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped parsely
freshly grated parmesan
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots (or any other hard, root vegetables you are using) and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Add the broccoli and tortellini and simmer for 5 minutes more, adding the frozen peppers halfway through. Drain the pasta and veggies and tip them into a large serving bowl.
3. Toss the veggies and tortellini with the dressing, lemon zest and parsley and season with salt to taste. Grate some fresh parmesan on top, if desired. Can be served warm, room temp, or cold.