Are you looking for a delicious and hassle-free salad recipe to impress your guests? Look no further than this broccoli and tortellini salad recipe. With its refreshing combination of flavors, it’s perfect for any occasion – from family gatherings to barbecues and potlucks.
This recipe showcases the ultimate trifecta of taste, texture, and satisfaction. The fresh broccoli florets provide a crisp crunch, while the cheese-filled tortellini pasta adds a hearty bite. Throw in some sunflower seeds, red onions, raisins, and crispy bacon pieces for extra flavor and protein – and there you have it! A mouthwatering salad that’s both easy to make and impressive in presentation.
Not only is this recipe scrumptious, but it’s also highly versatile. You can customize it to your preference by substituting certain ingredients or adding in variations. Plus, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to serve – making it a convenient option for busy hosts.
So if you’re ready to step up your salad game without sacrificing taste or convenience, try out this broccoli and tortellini salad recipe at your next event. Your guests will thank you (and ask for seconds!).
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Indulging in good food is one of the purest pleasures in life. And what can be better than a dish that is packed with nutrition, easy to make and tastes delicious too? If you are looking for such a recipe, the broccoli and tortellini salad recipe is precisely what you need. Trust me; this dish will become your new favorite.
Not only is this salad visually appealing with its vibrant colors of fresh broccoli, red onions, grape tomatoes, and flavorful bacon bits, but it also has an irresistible texture that will make your taste buds sing. The tender cheese-filled tortellini pasta complements the crunchiness of the broccoli florets coated with the sweet and tangy dressing.
But let’s not forget about the creaminess of mayo and the delightful burst of sweetness from raisins and sunflower seeds that add a pop of flavor in every bite. Moreover, with only 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes cooking time, this scrumptious salad is perfect for a quick weeknight meal or makes an unparalleled side dish to impress your guests at a party.
The great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. You can adjust the quantity of ingredients to serve more or less people as required. Plus, you can even experiment with different kinds of pasta shapes, such as spinach or roasted garlic tortellini pasta or opting for regular boiled pasta instead.
So take the plunge and experience what I am talking about yourself. Trust me; once you taste this healthy and tasty combination of broccoli and tortellini salad, I bet you’ll love it as much as I do!
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to create this delicious Broccoli and Tortellini Salad recipe:
- 1 (20 ounces) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut into small bite-size pieces
- 6 slices of bacon
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
Most of the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store, except for fresh broccoli, red onions, sunflower seeds, and grape tomatoes which can be usually found in the produce section. The cheese-filled tortellini pasta comes in 20 oz. packs and can typically be found in the refrigerated pasta section. Also, make sure that you always have bacon in your pantry since it adds an irresistible smoky flavor to the salad. Don’t forget to check if you already have some mayonnaise, white sugar, and cider vinegar at home as these are commonly used ingredients for dressings.
The Recipe How-To
Step 1: Cook the Tortellini
First, you need to cook 2 cups of cheese-filled tortellini according to the package instructions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water.
Step 2: Roast the Broccoli
While your tortellini is cooking, preheat your oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Then, toss 2 cups of fresh broccoli florets cut into bite-size pieces with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the broccoli pieces evenly on the baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes until they are crispy and tender.
Step 3: Cook the Bacon
Place 6 slices of thick-cut bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Keep flipping them often until they are crispy and golden brown, which will take around 6-8 minutes. Remove them from the skillet and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to cool down slightly.
Step 4: Chop Everything Up
Once everything is cool enough to handle, chop up both the roasted broccoli and cooked bacon into small pieces. Then, chop up half a red onion into thin slices.
Step 5: Prepare The Dressing
Take out your mixing bowl, add in 1 cup of mayonnaise, ½ cup of cider vinegar, and ½ cup of white sugar, then mix these ingredients together thoroughly.
Step 6: Combine All The Ingredients
In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked tortellini, roasted broccoli, chopped bacon and onions, two tablespoons of sunflower seeds, one cup of raisins, and one package of halved grape tomatoes (about one pint or two cups).
Pour over your creamy dressing from step five, then mix everything together well so that all the ingredients get coated with it.
Finally, cover & refrigerate this deliciously satisfying tortellini broccoli salad for at least an hour before serving.
Substitutions and Variations
Now, if you are looking to customize and change things up a bit on this Broccoli and Tortellini Salad Recipe, there are many exciting substitutions and variations you can try. Here are some excellent ideas to consider:
– Vegetarian Option: Ditch the bacon or replace it with freshly roasted broccoli. You can also add some nuts, such as almonds or pecans, for added crunch.
– Spinach Tortellini: Use frozen spinach tortellini instead of the cheese-filled version for a more nutritious, leafy green twist.
– Lemony Tortellini: If you want to add more zing and brightness to this already tasty pasta salad, toss the cooked tortellini with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and chopped parsley.
– Creamy Broccoli: Take it up a notch by adding 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or sour cream to the mayonnaise mixture. This substitution will give your dish a creamy texture that complements the crunchy bits of broccoli perfectly.
– Tomato Tortellini: Add grape tomatoes halved in place of raisins for another sweet and tangy flavor profile.
– Sunflower Seeds: Substitute sunflower seeds for the raisins for extra texture or use them in combination.
– Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad: Add other fresh vegetables like cucumbers, grape tomatoes, or bell peppers for extra color and nutrition.
These substitutions allow you to put your spin on this classic salad recipe even if time is limited. Let you imagine guide you in choosing the right variation for your gathering. Trust us; your guests will thank you.
Serving and Pairing
This broccoli and tortellini salad can be served as a standalone meal, or it can be paired with your favorite meat dish. You can enjoy the salad with grilled chicken, roasted salmon, or even steak fajitas. The combination of fresh broccoli, cheese-filled tortellini, and tangy dressing make this salad versatile enough to be paired with nearly any main course.
For a healthier twist, try serving the salad with grilled shrimp or baked tofu. The sweetness from the raisins and the crunchiness from the sunflower seeds are balanced by the creaminess of the cheese-filled tortellini and mayo dressing, resulting in a flavor-packed dish that will leave everyone at the table asking for more.
When pairing drinks with this salad, consider a crisp white wine such as Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. These light-bodied wines will complement the refreshing flavors of the salad without overpowering them. If you prefer beer, try a light wheat beer like Blue Moon or Shock Top to cut through the richness of the mayo dressing.
Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, this broccoli and tortellini salad is sure to be a hit at your next gathering. Its creamy texture and tangy taste make it an excellent side dish for any barbecue or potluck event. The versatility of this salad is what makes it an absolute must-have in your recipe book, so give it a try today!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
In terms of convenience, this broccoli and tortellini salad recipe is a winner. It can be made ahead of time for busy weeknights or special occasions. The salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days without losing its crunchiness or flavor.
To make this salad ahead of time, cook the tortellini according to package instructions, drain and rinse them with cold water. Then chop the broccoli florets into bite-size pieces and mix them with the tortellini, bacon, sunflower seeds, raisins, and chopped red onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss everything thoroughly.
If you’re planning on making this dish ahead of time, reserve some dressing to add just before serving it as the pasta tends to absorb it quickly over time.
Storing and reheating this salad is a breeze; store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and when it’s time to serve or reheat, add a touch more dressing as previously mentioned. To reheat this chilled salad quickly at mealtime, sprinkle a little water on top and microwave it for about 20-30 seconds before stirring again.
With its colorful ingredients and savory dressing that tastes fantastic cold or warmed up, you’ll discover that it’s suitable for all kinds of events – from family dinners to potlucks or even just your lunch at work!
Tips for Perfect Results
To achieve the perfect broccoli and tortellini salad, here are some tips and tricks that will elevate the flavors of this dish.
Firstly, when cutting the broccoli florets, make sure they are bite-size pieces. Broccoli can be tough to chew when it’s in large sizes, and it can be a challenge to pick up clumps of broccoli with tortellini. Bite-size pieces will create more enjoyable texture and better blending with tortellini.
Secondly, for a creamier texture of the salad, you may add more mayonnaise as an alternative to olive oil. Although olive oil is a healthier option than mayo, it tones down the creaminess of the dressing. Two cups of mayonnaise will make the salad more nutritious and adds the smooth texture needed for tortellini.
Thirdly, when cooking the tortellini, ensure you cook it al dente in salted water. Overcooked pasta will not only lose its shape but could turn soggy and ruin the whole taste of the salad altogether.
In terms of presentation, whole grape tomatoes are aesthetically pleasing but may complicate eating. Halving each grape tomato makes it easier to eat and more manageable to incorporate into tortellini bites.
Last but not least is seasoning. Sunflower seeds add a salty flavor profile that serves as an excellent seasoning for this dish. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds over your salad to enhance the flavor palette.
Follow these tips cautiously not only to make a delicious broccoli and tortellini salad but also to enjoy savory bites every time you serve this dish.
Overall, the broccoli and tortellini salad recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves to experiment and try delicious new recipes. This dish has a combination of textures and flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and make your mouth water.
With its fresh broccoli, tasty cheese tortellini, crispy bacon, and crunchy sunflower seeds, this salad is sure to become a favorite at any gathering or mealtime. And the best part? It’s easy to make, can be prepared in advance, and can be adjusted to suit your personal preferences.
So why not grab the ingredients from your local grocery store and give it a try? I promise it won’t disappoint. And who knows – this delicious broccoli and tortellini salad recipe may even become a staple in your meal rotation!
Broccoli and Tortellini Salad Recipe
- 6 slices bacon
- 20 ounces cheese-filled tortellini
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook tortellini in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and rinse under cold water.
- In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar to make the dressing.
- In a large bowl, combine broccoli, tortellini, bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds and red onion. Pour dressing over salad, and toss.
Your Own Notes
Recommended Recipes Just For You
Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!