Tortellini Salad


This is a perfect picnic (or anytime) side dish, but it makes a great main dish too. If we’re serving it as a main, we like to add cheese or beans—or both!— to make it even more satisfying. Kids Advisory Board member Amine added scallions and black pepper and said it was “delicious!”

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Jar with tight-fitting lid
  • Large pot
  • Pot holders
  • Colander or strainer
  • Large spoon



For the basil vinaigrette:

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar (any kind)
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the salad:

  • 1 (20-ounce) package frozen tortellini(any kind)
  • 1 cup cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber(the kind wrapped in plastic), diced (or 2 regular cucumbers, peeled and diced)



  • Put all the vinaigrette ingredients in the jar and shake well.
  • Cook and drain the tortellini. Rinse it in the colander under cold water.
  • Put the tortellini in the bowl, then add the tomatoes and cucumber. Shake the vinaigrette again and pour about half into the bowl. Stir well and then taste. Does it need more vinaigrette and/or a pinch of salt? Add it and taste again. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.



Add any or all of the following:

• 1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and diced

• 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed

• 1/2 red onion, diced, or 1/4 cup chopped scallions

• 1 cup fresh, frozen (thawed), or canned corn kernels

• 1/4 cup pitted olives

• 1/2 cup crumbled feta, grated Parmesan, or cubed cheddar cheese

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