Spring Pesto Tortellini Salad + Weekly Menu

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My days are so off….I almost missed Lily’s birthday! Though, since dogs don’t live long lives compared to us humans, I have previously stated that I’m through with celebrating her birthdays. I mean, she’s 4 now… :(

But it’s no wonder I’m confused. I was back to work for 2 short days before hopping on a train to Chicago to meet Mr. Prevention on Friday, who was returning from Brazil, for a professional networking thing-a-ma-bob in the city. It was fun, but exhausting.

The past week has been Chicago to Minneapolis to Chicago to Ohio to Michigan to Chicago and back home again. If driving through a state counts, add Indiana to that list.

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We are now both home and have managed to wear yesterday’s birthday girl into the ground after a day of the dog park, running errands, and lots of love and affection. #bulldogproblems

Despite picking up a few staples while home for 36 hours last week, yesterday was a major shopping trip. For me to spend over $100, that’s a spendy trip. I blame most of that on the sirloins, the lamb, the 3 melons, and the 6 pack of Goose Island that mysteriously made it into my shopping cart. Hmmmm.

In the 36 hours I was home last week and at work, I brainstormed as to what could be made for dinner with what I had on hand…and tortellini. What can I say? I had a craving.

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After first finding the tortellini (in the middle of the dry pasta aisle, who knew?), I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole wheat variety which offered up 6 grams of fiber per cup. To bulk up the slightly sinful tortellini and to get the carbohydrates down and portion up, I added some of my favorite spring veggies — asparagus and zucchini. I tossed in red onion for looks, artichokes because I had them in my pantry, and beans for some added protein and fiber to this vegetarian meal.

My super quick meal on a whim turned out pretty fantastic…if I do say so myself!

Enjoy this dish packed with spring and nutrition!

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Spring Pesto Tortellini Salad

9 oz whole wheat cheese tortellini
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch half moons
1/4 red onion, very roughly diced
15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup prepared pesto

Directions:

Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot over high heat.

Once boiling, add the tortellini to the pot, stir, and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the asparagus and stir, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini and red onion to the pot. Stir and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove pot from heat and pour into a large colander. Rinse tortellini and vegetables with cold running water for 30-60 seconds; transfer to a large bowl.

To the bowl, add the drained artichokes and beans. Add pesto and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving, or serve at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings (~1 1/3 cups each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 304 calories; 9.5 g. fat; 25 mg. cholesterol; 667 mg. sodium; 38.0 g. carbohydrate; 11.8 g. fiber; 14.3 g. protein; 6.7 g . sugar

Result: This makes for a light meal or would serve 10-14 as a side dish. I think this is the perfect light, warm weather meal and ideal for packing in lunches or serving a backyard barbecue. I bulked up the tortellini with tons of veggies for both the color and the nutrition. This keeps beautifully in the fridge – serve chilled or near room temperature. Enjoy!

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Weekly Menu: April 28th – May 2nd

Yesterday felt like Sunday…but I’m so glad it wasn’t :)

Be well,

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Comments

  1. braelin says

    What kind of prepared pesto did you use? I just made this (added spinach and a few tomatoes too) w/Classico pesto. It wasn’t great- but I’m blaming the pesto itself. Given that’s the main flavor it is worth investing in a quality prepared pesto!

    • Nicole, RD says

      Hi Braelin, I’m sorry it was lack-luster in flavor. I used homemade pesto (here’s the recipe: http://preventionrd.com/2010/06/drool-worthy-pesto/ — just don’t laugh at the photos…it’s a really old post). I find Classico’s pesto to be very oily without much basil depth. Hopefully it was just the pesto ;) If you add more pesto (and/or salt) does that help? Sometimes salt can bring our natural flavors…might be worth a shot! Thanks for your feedback :)

  2. says

    It’s all about the basil! Err, pesto… I’ll slather pesto on anything, even on toast like it’s jelly or peanut butter. And since it’s green, I can pretend it’s healthier than those fruity jams — right? ;]

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