The perfect dish to bring to picnics, potlucks, grill-outs — all your summer gatherings. This vegetable-loaded summer tortellini salad with homemade buttermilk dill dressing is an easy weeknight meal, too!
Hey, picnic-food lovin’ peeps! We’re almost to that awesome long weekend that ushers in summer. 🙂
Long summer weekends mean cookouts, and whether you’re honoring the holiday set aside for our fallen soldiers, or testing out the pool for the first time this year, or just taking a breather from the long work week (whew, right?), it’s a great reason to gather family and friends together and cook up some delicious picnic eats.
Lately, I’ve been substituting tortellini — the fresh kind that you can buy in the refrigerated section at the grocery, partially cooked — for regular pasta, for an extra hit of flavor (cheese stuffed!) and texture in my pasta salads.
This tortellini salad is make-ahead awesome, so when you’re hosting your weekend gathering, you make it in the morning, go about your party b’ness, and then just pull this baby right out of the fridge when the burgers are up.
Picnic tip: the homemade buttermilk dill dressing I share here is awesome — I hope you’ll try it, whether it’s with this tortellini salad or not! — but if you’re taking the salad to a picnic with possibly iffy refrigeration opps, use your favorite dairy-free vinaigrette instead (safety first!).
The best thing about this pasta salad is all the summer veggies, which will be plentiful in just a few short weeks (I can’t wait!). Something to look out for this year: if you’ve never tried sweet corn on the cob raw, well, you just hafta! It’s sweet and crunchy and just … sooo … yummy I add it to everything, from green salads to salsas to pasta dishes.
Happy weekend, Everybody!
Summer Tortellini Salad
for the buttermilk dill dressing (optional)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 heaping tablespoons minced dill leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, smashed with a little salt (one small clove)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives, or minced green onions
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 to 1 cup buttermilk (I used 3/4 cup)
for the tortellini salad
- 9 ounce package refrigerated fresh tortellini
- 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cucumbers
- 1/4 cup fresh corn*
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the dressing
- Add all ingredients except buttermilk to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk and whisk thoroughly. Test the consistency and add more buttermilk until it reaches your preferred pourability. I used 3/4 cup, which makes it pourable but tangy rich. Taste, and add more salt if desired. Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. (For best results, taste again after the rest, and add more salt a pinch at a time as needed.)
for the tortellini salad
- Cook the tortellini according to package directions, drain, and set aside to cool. Add the vegetables to a medium mixing bowl, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss. Fold in the pasta, taking care not jar the tortellinis into unfolding. Pour some of the dressing and fold it into the pasta salad until lightly coated. Serve immediately at room temperature with the extra dressing on the side, or refrigerate the salad and remaining dressing for at least an hour. Use the extra dressing to loosen the salad, and serve.