Monday, May 18, 2009

Tortellini Market Salad with Pesto

I made this salad for a sunset dinner with a friend on a lazy Sunday after a weekend of eating pizza for dinner (okay maybe we had the rest of it for breakfast too!) You will feel good eating this salad because it's fresh, healthy and colorful. The dressing / pesto recipes here are enough for about 4 dinner sized salads, but I will leave the rest of the amounts up to your personal tastes and preferences.


1/4 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup packed Italian parsley
2 T pine nuts
1 T chopped shallot
2 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 t chopped basil leaves
4 t red wine vinegar
3 t olive oil

2 cups organic red leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
2 cups mache lettuce*
2 cups baby lettuce blend
shelled English peas, cooked and set to room temperature
thin sliced radishes
thin sliced English cucumber
thin sliced red onions
cooked asparagus tips (I forgot to add these but it was my intention)
avocado slices
fresh cheese tortellini, cooked and drained
toasted pine nuts
crumbled farmer's cheese or queso blanco (in the Mexican food cold aisle of the market)
salt and pepper to taste

Add pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to add more oil or lemon depending on the thickness you desire. Let set up to a day in the refrigerator.

Blend dressing ingredients together and let set out.

Let lettuce crisp up by washing and setting in the refrigerator covered with a wet paper towel. When you are ready to serve, toss the lettuce in a large bowl with the other vegetables and dressing. Plate salad onto individual plates and add tortellini, pine nuts and cheese to each individually. Drizzle each plate with pesto and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

*I have a new obsession with mache lettuce, which is slowly gaining popularity in America. It tastes nutty, is a rich green color and has a delicate texture. High in vitamins A, B and C, it is known to fight stress and fatigue. It also has a third more iron in it than spinach! I haven't seen mache in many grocery stores as of yet, but I have found it in the bagged lettuce area at Trader Joe's.

Thank you Narineh for taking lovely pictures of the meal! You should check out her blog Traditionally Modern Designs for more (and other great design, home, food, etc. stuff!)

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