Tag Archives: whole wheat

Layered Mediterranean Tortellini Salad: the New 7-Layer Salad

Written by Liz –

Layered Mediterranean Tortellini Salad Recipe

For those of you who grew up in the south or the mid-west, or “just north of Texas,” your mom probably made 7-Layer Salad, or at least had it in her recipe repertoire. If she didn’t make it at least once, her mom probably did.

This was a very popular salad that swept the American interior in the 1950s – and maybe even made it to the coasts – with its sophisticated layered presentation, flexibility for ingredients you might be cleaning out of your fridge and the plentiful mass of mayonnaise on top. In the south it’s heavy on peas, and it makes a great picnic or pot luck salad.

Chris’ Layered Mediterranean Tortellini Salad is a healthier version of this 7-Layer Salad using spinach and whole wheat tortellini and I decided to make it for my mom when she came to town. She fondly remembers the classic 7-Layer Salad from my childhood (as well as a variety of wine punch recipes involving a fancy punch bowl and polyester bell bottoms) and was eager to try this lighter, updated recipe.

I used my new punch bowl/cake stand to showcase the salad and made just a few substitutions: I used a chunk of Italian parmesan cut into wide strips with a vegetable peeler and I replaced the canned olives with a gourmet mix of fresh olives with their pits from the local grocer. I also made my own Greek salad dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried Italian herbs, salt and pepper (I added a dash of buttermilk to evoke some of the classic taste for my mom).

Layered Mediterranean Tortellini Salad Recipe

Layered Mediterranean Tortellini Salad

Ingredients for 12 servings:


PREPARE pasta according to package directions; rinse in cold water then drain well. Place spinach tortellini in one bowl and the whole wheat tortellini in another bowl. Add 2 tablespoons salad dressing to each bowl; toss gently to coat.

PLACE tomatoes in large glass serving bowl; drizzle with 1 tablespoon salad dressing. Top with all of spinach tortellini, feta cheese, red onion and basil; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon salad dressing. Top with all of the whole wheat tortellini, cucumbers, artichokes and olives. Cover; refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Season with pepper; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.

It was delicious, light and very satisfying as a summer meal. It was even better the next day after marinating in the dressing overnight. My mom was delighted too. Next, we’re moving on to the punch.


Related punch bowl recipes:

Sparkling Sangria recipe
Sparkling Sangria
Ambrosia recipe

St. Patty’s Day “Green Eggs and Ham”

St. Patty's Day "Green Eggs and Ham"

You’ll love this Italian-inspired version of green eggs and ham, and you won’t even need woodland dining partners, boats or trees to enjoy it.

And don’t let this beautiful image fool you. This recipe is as easy as it gets. If you don’t have prosciutto, use pancetta (unsmoked Italian bacon) or bacon. No English muffins? Use toast. This type of recipe is typically served for breakfast, but it would also make a great brunch, lunch or dinner – any time of year, not just for St. Patrick’s Day.

Buitoni makes such high quality products, and the All Natural Basil Pesto is no exception. This is yet another product where I have to limit myself. I can literally eat this by the spoonful! And it complements so many foods (pasta, bread, fish, poultry, vegetables, etc.). It’s also fantastic with a few drops of high-quality balsamic vinegar for a dressing or marinade. It’s made the traditional way with a blend of fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Buitoni also makes a Reduced Fat Pesto, which has 25% less fat.

Did you know pesto originated in Genoa, Italy? It comes from the Italian word pestare that means to pound or to bruise, and is based on basil, an important Mediterranean herb.

Vegetable Tortellini Soup Recipe

Written by Chris

Vegetable Tortellini Soup Recipe

Spring produce is here! A good time to hit local farmers’ markets. The food you buy at the farmers’ market is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavors. If you have a farmers’ market close to you, take advantage. Many farmers are a great source for recipes and preparation tips too. Also, because growers who sell at a farmers’ market don’t have to package or label their produce, they can pass along some of the savings to consumers. I’d like to think I save money, but in reality, I end up spending a little more (this is because I usually bring my kids with me). I like to let my kids choose and purchase some fruits and veggies on their own. My thought is that they may be more inclined to actually eat the healthy items that they picked it out and paid for – so far, this is holding true.

A few words about some of the key ingredients in this veggie soup:

Leek: Leeks look like giant scallions/green onions. Leeks are related to the onion and garlic family, but the flavor is much milder.  Leeks are available year round in most regions. The smaller the leek, the more tender it will be. Store leeks loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Fresh leeks from a farmers market will keep up to ten days; otherwise plan on 5 days. Cut into white and light green part of leek lengthwise and rinse under running water (leeks trap a lot of dirt).

Carrot: Carrots are a member of the parsley family (the green foliage on top probably gives that away). This veggie is very popular due to its nutrition (high in vitamin A) and the fact that it is available year round. Look for firm, stiff, unbending carrots. Any give shows a sign of age and “wilting.” If you buy carrots with the greens attached, look for fresh, bright green tops. Once home, however, remove the greens and store the carrots loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Fresh carrots will keep for several weeks properly stored. Oh, and be sure to NOT store them next to apples because apples emit ethylene gas and can give carrots a bitter taste.

Zucchini: Fresh zucchini is available year round, but it peaks late spring.  I like the small zucchini because they are younger, which means they are tender and have thinner skin.

Peas: Peas are a member of the legume family. Peas (garden, snap, snow, etc.) come into season in the spring and continue in most areas well into summer. In this soup, I prefer fresh peas, but frozen work great too.

Whole-Wheat Tortellini: I love this product! The tortellini are stuffed with ricotta, Romano and Parmesan cheeses (can you say, YUM!). They are higher in fiber, lower in fat and have more whole grains when compared to regular filled tortellini. One serving contains 49 grams of whole grains!


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