Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beat the Heat Summer Salad

I first had this salad 21 years ago at Pizzeria Uno in downtown Boston. It was love at first bite and I counted the minutes until I could return and order it again. Imagine my disappointment when I returned only the next week to discover they had taken it off of the menu! I set out to make a suitable imitation and all these years later it still makes my heart skip a beat.

Mixed Green Tortellini Salad
8 cups of mixed greens, I prefer spinach and Boston lettuce
Chopped tomato, or grape tomatoes cut in half
Mozzarella Cheese, cubed, or shredded
Chicken breast
1 Package of refrigerated tortellini cooked al dente.
Seasoned Croutons
Italian Vinaigrette or Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is the basic recipe however you can adjust as desired. For example, I do not eat meat so I use chickpeas in place of the chicken breast. I have also added chopped black olives for a change of pace as well. In a pinch I have substituted regular pasta for the tortellini.I have come up with other creative renditions, but I still swoon for the simple original. 
This is my standard summer meal to take to someone who is sick, or has just had a baby, or to a friend who just needs the night off! I have never had a complaint and they have added their own spin and made it their standard as well. 

For a great hot weather dessert to pair with this salad, try layering Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries and granola. Fresh peaches pair very well with the berries if you have access to some. If you don't have granola you can use chopped almonds, and if you don't have chopped almonds the blueberries and yogurt are delicious on their own! If you don't have time to use your blueberries now, simply spread on a cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen you can put them in a bag and pop them in the freezer for later use. Be creative with your yogurt flavors and enjoy!

Look later for my Roasted Summer Veggie recipe! It will help you use the rest of this week's share!

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