Maybe I should have held off sharing this one till we were closer to the warm weather months but I couldn’t hold back. This bright and cheerful little salad is the perfect side dish for your summer BBQ but I love it any time of year. As a matter of fact, I served it the day the boys came over for our annual Christmas photo shoot and decided it was high time it made an appearance here on the blog.
Plus, I’ve been fighting a cold and summery happy food makes me feel better. So here it is, my first post of the new year. Happy New Year!
In honor of the new year and all of the resolutions it brings, I’m happy to say that the dressing on this salad is lightened up but incredibly delicious and satisfying. I changed it up a bit from the dressing for my basic Broccoli Salad by adding balsamic vinegar, and my friends…change is good. The slightly sweet, creamy, balsamic dressing makes this my favorite broccoli salad EVER! The addition of cheese tortellini makes it a bit more substantial, and for me, it could be a meal in itself.
Let’s start with the pasta. One should always start with a little pasta…no?
This is a nice brand that my local grocery store carries but any brand of basic cheese tortellini will do. You’ll need a 12 ounce package or close to it.
Cook it about a minute shy of the package directions. We want to be sure not to overcook it. Mushy tortellini = Bad. After it is cooked, rinse it with cool water and drain it well.
You’ll need 5 slices of cooked bacon at the ready. For instructions on a clean and easy way to cook a great big batch o’ bacon take a looky HERE.
You’ll also need two crowns of broccoli.
Chop the florets from the stalks and then cut them into bite sized pieces.
Give them a good rinse and let them drain. And, we’re ready to assemble our salad.
Combine the cooked, drained, and cooled tortellini and the broccoli in a large serving dish.
Add 1/3 cup diced red onion and 1/2 dried cranberries, known in some parts as Craisins.
Let’s quickly put together the magic dressing. In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup light mayonnaise and 1/3 cup light sour cream. Add 1 tablespoon sugar.
Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and get ready for the magic.
Spoon the dressing over the top of the salad.
Gently toss it to distribute the dressing throughout. At this point, cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and pop it in your fridge. It will be even more magical after it rests for a couple of hours.
When you are ready to serve, pull the dish from the fridge and add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and add
45 5 slices of crumbled bacon. Sorry, I like bacon.
Perfect and pretty and ready to serve.
Trust me. Don’t wait till summer for this one.
- 1 (12 ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 5 slices thick sliced bacon
- 2 crowns fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces (approximately 4 cups)
- 1/3 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup light sour cream
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook tortellini according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. Rinse with cool water and drain well. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bacon on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or till browned and crisp. Transfer cooked bacon to paper towels to drain. Crumble and set aside.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the broccoli, cooked and cooled tortellini, onion, and dried cranberries. In a small bowl, stir together the light mayonnaise, light sour cream, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Pour over broccoli mixture, and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to six hours.
- When ready to serve, stir in the crumbled bacon and chopped walnuts.