Perfect Pasta Salad

A proper salad needs just the right balance of textures, flavors and colors. Sometimes this requires you to combine what seems like a million different ingredients, and other times you need just a few. Luckily, you only need a handful of classic ingredients to make the simple, flavor-filled pasta salad below.

Tortellini and String Bean Salad by

Tortellini and String Bean Salad by

The recipe I created makes enough for a crowd and is a great option to serve at a picnic or backyard barbecue. More often than not though, I have this dish on hand so I can take a tasty, refreshing lunch to the office. It travels well, tastes great chilled or at room temperature and it’s far from another boring salad or sandwich.

Tortellini and String Bean Salad

Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 pound string beans (I used a combination of green and yellow), ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 packages (about 13-ounces each) tortellini (I used tri-color cheese tortellini)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the string beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.

2. Bring the water back to a boil and add the tortellini. Cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey. Mix until well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine the string beans, tortellini and tomatoes. Add dressing and toss to coat. Let flavors develop for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

SWWU Tip: The tasty balsamic vinaigrette used for this dish also tastes great over greens or as a dressing for chicken. 

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