This Niçoise Tortellini Salad Says Summer!

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Pack some pasta salad, it’s the perfect picnic food! Whether you are hanging lakeside with the kids all day or heading to a summer concert in the park with your sweetie, prepping a pasta salad for the cooler makes for a fresh, flavorful and fit meal later.Niçoise Tortellini Salad

Plus, picnic recipes like my popular Niçoise Tortellini Salad are super simple and speedy to assemble – you know I’m spending the time savings outdoors and out of the kitchen!

julia child kitchen 700If you are a Julia Child super fan (like me, here I am in her famous kitchen on display in the Smithsonian), you likely know this larger-than-life lady took the traditional Niçoise salad mainstream when she introduced the art of French cooking to the everyday 60s housewife.

Niçoise Tortellini Salad makes a quick and easy light lunch, picnic or potluck dish. Add some grilled shrimp or chicken for a full meal!

Julia’s composed salad typically included tuna and ingredients like tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and the signature Niçoise olives which are grown exclusively in the French Riviera. My no-rules riff on this classic salad skips the fish entirely, tosses in zucchini and swaps cheese tortellini for potatoes to give it an unexpected Italian vibe. Rather than blanching vegetables, I give them a head start on softening and caramelizing by roasting in the oven with olive oil for 10 minutes.

I relied on my friends from Litehouse Foods for the dressing, I used their Organic Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette. You can make your own balsamic dressing if you have the time, but I’d rather save a few minutes for kicking my feet up.  A crumbling of salty, tart Feta punctuates the Mediterranean flair of this little feast in a jar even more. It’s soooo good! Niçoise Tortellini Salad

“Jar Salads” are so versatile — I usually use Mason canning jars, but today swapped those out for glass jelly jars for a different look!  Either can be easily packed and toted on a picnic, to work for a desk lunch, or also as a plate-free way for guests to enjoy a light meal when hosting an outdoor event. I’ll often swap out disposable plastic cups for glass jars when entertaining outside, this way there is no safety hazard and the clean-up is super quick.

Here’s another Salad Nicoise variation I did with tuna, capers and potatoes.Jar-Salad-Nicoise [lated

What is your favorite make-ahead salad? Have you been to an outdoor theater or concert this season? Have any cooler-packing tips, I need help! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer 

Niçoise Tortellini Salad
Easy Niçoise Tortellini Salad
Print Recipe
Summer means al fresco dining; my Niçoise Tortellini Salad is an easy, make-ahead menu option for concerts in the park, church potlucks and family picnics.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 5 minutes
Niçoise Tortellini Salad
Easy Niçoise Tortellini Salad
Print Recipe
Summer means al fresco dining; my Niçoise Tortellini Salad is an easy, make-ahead menu option for concerts in the park, church potlucks and family picnics.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Cut zucchini into ¼” thick slices, then halves. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and green beans in half crosswise. In medium bowl, toss vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of Instantly Fresh Italian Herb Blend.
  3. Spread out vegetables in single layer on rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through with spatula. Remove pan from oven and let vegetables cool to room temperature.
  4. While vegetables are cooling, prepare tortellini according to package direction. Drain hot water from pot and fill back up with cold water and ice. After 5 minutes, drain water and melted ice from tortellini.
  5. Add cooled vegetables and olives to pot with tortellini and gently toss with vinaigrette.
  6. To serve, add a handful of lettuce mix to bottom of one of four jars or individual bowls. Next add ¼ of the tortellini mixture on top, repeat for remaining dishes. Sprinkle each dish with approximately 1 tablespoon feta cheese.
  7. To serve family-style, tortellini mixture may also be tossed with lettuce blend immediately before serving.
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5 thoughts on “This Niçoise Tortellini Salad Says Summer!

  1. Nicoise Salads are HANDS DOWN my favorite. LOVE LOVE LOVE – with seared Ahi or of course, SALMON! And EXTRA anchovies. Everything just pairs so stinkin’ well. I legit get excited when I see it on a menu when I go out to eat!

    • You can not beat anything in Ranch dressing . . .err, i mean Ranch dressing ON anything – hahaha

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