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  • Brianna Rhodes, RD, CD

Fresh Tortellini Pasta Toss

This is another great summer dish, full of flavor, crunch and fresh vegetables. Tortellini adds a bit more substance, so this recipe makes a great main dish. Also, leftovers make a great lunch the next day.

I am always looking for new pasta recipes, because I love pasta salads for a cool summer dinner. My husband always gives me a hard time when I make a hot meal on a day when it’s 90+ outside. Who can blame him though, right?

The thing I love about pasta salads is that they are so versatile. Really, it’s a matter of finding a sauce/dressing recipe that you like. Other than that, you can put anything you want in a pasta salad. It’s a great way to clean out your vegetable drawer! The endless combination of meat, noodles and colorful veggies is great.

Earlier this week I was looking for a tortellini recipe, because I wanted to try something new. For me, recipes are more like guidelines, as you can see in this picture. I think the only part of this recipe I didn’t change was the fact that I used tortellini! As does happen with experimenting, I ended up with a little too much sauce on this dish. I have adjusted the recipe I’m posting here to fix that.

I will be honest, my kids didn’t love this meal—they wanted to wipe the vinaigrette off of their pasta and ham. I think the balsamic vinegar is a little strong for them. But they thought the tortellini looked like flowers, which helped them eat it without too much complaint. It’s always good to give kids a chance to try new foods!

I like to pair pasta dishes with a side higher in protein. Cottage cheese is my favorite go-to for this. Cottage cheese is also a “safe” food for my kids—I always try to have something in the meal that I know they will like, so that it’s not too overwhelming. Overall, it was a great summer meal.

The Meal:

  • 12 oz of pasta (approximately 2 cups worth of pasta)

  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese

  • 1 ½ cups diced watermelon

Recipe Used in this meal:

Fresh Tortellini Pasta Toss

Serving size: 2 cups

Servings per recipe: 5-6


  • 1 lb refrigerated tortellini (I used a 4 cheese flavor)

  • ½ pint of grape tomatoes (sliced in half)

  • ½ each bell pepper, sliced (green, orange, red, yellow)

  • ½ cucumber, peeled, sliced, quartered

  • 1 bunch of spinach, washed, chopped, stems removed

  • 10 oz ham


  • 1/3 cup Italian Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Once cooked, drain, rinse and cool in cold water.

  2. Thoroughly wash all vegetables. Chop and dice to bite-size pieces and place in large bowl.

  3. Add cooled tortellini to the vegetable bowl.

  4. Chop ham into bite-size pieces. Add to bowl.

  5. In a separate dish, add all ingredients for the vinaigrette. Stir to combine.

  6. Pour over pasta/vegetables, and stir to combine.

  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

Nutrition Facts Label for Entire Meal:

Nutrition Facts Label for Pasta Toss:

This recipe is moderate in fat content. That is because of the Oil/Vinegar based dressing. Use healthy fats like olive oil to make this. Also, the fat will aid in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A & K) found in the spinach.

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