Now that the weather is beginning to warm up (um, sort of), I have salad on the brain – something light and refreshing that actually makes me want to leave the house rather than just cuddling up under a blanket for weeks on end. When I made my Greek chickpea salad, I said that a Greek salad was probably the only salad I’d ever consider ordering at a restaurant, but I’ve realised I was wrong – I totally love Caesar salads too. It’s not often that I genuinely love something based around lettuce, but a Caesar salad has me completely convinced. You can’t beat the combination of the creamy yet tangy dressing, flakes of parmesan cheese, and crisp lettuce.
The only thing that would put me off ordering a salad at a restaurant is the fact that in my opinion, a salad isn’t really a full meal. As a side dish, bring it on, but I need something a bit more substantial than lettuce for dinner (i.e. I need me some carbs).
That’s why I decided to make this tortellini Caesar salad – it has all the same flavours as my favourite Caesar salad, but it’s much more filling and definitely feels more like a full meal.
You can use whatever flavour of tortellini you like, but choose something quite mild that won’t clash with the flavour of the Caesar dressing. I used spinach and ricotta tortellini, which was absolutely perfect and added an incredible creaminess to the salad. Along with the salty parmesan, crunchy lettuce and peppery dressing, I ate the whole plateful with a smile on my face (I mean the small plateful, not the entire platter…).
By the way, make sure you use a Caesar dressing that doesn’t contain anchovies, which many of them do. Also remember to use a vegetarian version of parmesan cheese, since true parmesan contains animal rennet (technically the veggie versions aren’t ‘real’ parmesan, but they’re basically the same thing).
Tortellini Caesar salad
- 300 g tortellini I used spinach and ricotta flavour
- 100 g lettuce I used a mixture of iceberg, escarole, endive and radicchio, roughly chopped
- 30 g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese shaved
- 75 g Caesar dressing make sure it's vegetarian!
- Black pepper
- Boil the tortellini according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh tortellini takes just a couple of minutes to cook, so make sure you don't overcook it - you want it to be slightly al dente. Once cooked, drain the tortellini and give it a rinse under cold water. Set aside to cool fully.
- When the tortellini is cool, add it to the remaining ingredients, and mix gently to combine. Serve immediately.
- Note: if making this salad in advance, only add the dressing when ready to serve.