Tortellini Salad

I read a fair number of other food blogs in my spare time, you know, for inspiration and recipes and good things like that. One of my favorites is 101 Cookbooks. The author, Heidi Swanson, posts healthy veg recipes accompanied by the most gorgeous photos ever - I'm just constantly drooling over it. Well, it turns out that she recently published a cookbook, so obviously I ordered a copy as soon as I could. And I am in love.

It's called Super Natural Every Day, and every recipe in it is the kind of recipe I would make up if I were any good at making up recipes. It's all fresh and seasonal and contains unexpected but amazing combinations of ingredients. I made my first recipe from it last night and have pretty much the rest of them bookmarked to make in the very near future. For now, here's Heidi's gorgeous tortellini salad.

Tortellini Salad
From Super Natural Every Day
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 pound fresh tortellini or about 12 ounces frozen/refrigerated tortellini
  • 8 to 10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1/2 head broccoli or equivalent broccolini, cut into small trees
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Small handful of fresh cilantro or mint, chopped
  • Small handful of sprouts
  • 1/3 cup/1 ounce pine nuts or almonds, toasted
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, sliced into small pieces
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the tortellini, and cook according to the package instructions. About 30 seconds before the pasta is finished cooking, stir the asparagus and broccoli into the pot. Cook for the final 30 seconds, drain, and run under cold water just long enough to stop the cooking.

In the meantime, to make the dressing, use the flat side of your knife to mash the garlic along with a big pinch of salt into a paste. Whisk together the garlic paste, lemon juice, olive oil, and more salt, if needed. Set aside.

When you're ready to serve the salad, toss the pasta, asparagus, broccoli, and cilantro with about half of the dressing. Add more dressing to taste, if needed, and toss well. Add the sprouts, nuts, and avocado. Very gently toss a couple of times to distribute those ingredients throughout the salad and enjoy. Keep the dressing on hand to refresh leftovers; the pasta tends to absorb it overnight.