Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spinach Tortellini Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette


A few weeks ago I made a salad with tons of fresh veggies in it.  I've been making these fresh salads a couple times a week since then and I have to say, in the middle of these dreary winter months it has been a nice shift.  These have become my new "comfort food" lately. 

Tonight is panini night at the Bowden House.  I wanted to do something light and fresh to go along with our sandwiches.  I started picking things out of the cupboard and putting them together and this delightful concoction was born.  I wanted to do a pasta salad, but just pasta is a little heavy for what I was going for.  I started adding spinach to lighten it up, topped it off with some shredded parmesan and BAM!  Between me and my 12-year-old we're lucky any is going to make it to the dinner table.  When she took a bite she said, "I like how it smells, I like how it tastes, and I like that when you put it in your mouth your tastebuds just POP!"

Spinach Tortellini Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Recipe by me

Ingredients
1 package (9-10 oz) cheese tortellini
3 tbsp finely chopped onion (you want it to be small enough that you don't get a huge chunk but large enough that it's recognizable as onion)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup terragon vinegar (if you can't find terragon vinegar, use red wine vinegar...but if you can, the terragon vinegar is so worth the effort)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
3 cups baby spinach
1/3 cup shredded parmesan (the good kind)

Cook pasta according to the package directions.  While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing.  Add onions, garlic, vinegar, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and honey to a large bowl.  Whisk until well combined.  Add some fresh ground black pepper if you're feeling a little spicy.  When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl while still hot and toss to coat in the dressing (this way all that goodness gets soaked up in the pasta as it cools down).  At this point, put the pasta in the fridge either for 10-15 minutes, or until a few minutes before serving (if you're making it in advance) to cool down.  A few minutes before serving (if serving immediately, wait long enough that the heat of the pasta won't wilt the spinach), add the spinach and toss it to coat in the dressing.  Top with parmesan cheese and toss again.

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