When I’m asked to bring a side dish to a party, potluck, or cookout, I almost always go with pasta salads. They’re quick + simple to make, they appeal to kiddos and adults alike, and they’re very forgiving temperature-wise, being equally awesome cold straight from the fridge or at room temperature. So, when I recently saw a recipe for a delicious-sounding lemony Tortellini-Chickpea Pasta Salad and was having a big group over to my house for a potluck dinner the following day, I knew that I had to give it a try. I love pasta, I looooove lemon, + I love fresh veggies, so I sensed that I was going to be a huge fan of this salad.
And the verdict from myself and my guests? This pasta salad is SO delicious. Truly, this might be the best pasta salad I’ve ever made! There’s tasty cheese tortellini, hearty chickpeas, + bright, crisp vegetables (carrots, spinach + tomatoes), all tossed with an amazingly wonderful homemade lemon, herb + garlic vinaigrette. (Note: the super-simple-to-make vinaigrette is also fantastic for dressing green salads!) Including all chopping, prepping, + cooking, this only took me about 30 minutes to make, which was much appreciated by this busy mama. As printed below, this recipe serves 4-6 people as a side dish, but it’s easily doubled or even tripled (which is what I did) if you’re serving a bigger group. So, now that the season of warm-weather parties is approaching, make sure you bookmark this recipe to try – I promise, you and your cookout companions are going to love it!
Lemony Tortellini-Chickpea Salad
serves 4-6, adapted from Good Cheap Eats
12 ounces cheese tortellini, (fresh, dried, or frozen)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced)
kosher salt + freshly-ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans (rinsed well and drained, if canned)
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package grape tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
2 carrots, peeled + finely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil + cook tortellini according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, make the vinaigrette – combine the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until combined. Add the olive oil and whisk again to emulsify.
In a large bowl, combined the cooked tortellini, chickpeas, chopped spinach, tomatoes, and carrots. Pour the vinagrette over the salad and toss gently to combine well. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed. Serve either chilled, or at room temperature.