Jun 14
2011

Tortellini Pasta Salad with Bacon, Broccoli & Basil Recipe

Tortellini-Pasta-Salad-with-Bacon-Broccoli-&-Basil-Recipe

One of the first things I made on my own after leaving the comfort of my parents’ kitchen was my mum’s pasta salad. Growing up, it was a staple on the patio table during the summertime. Bowtie pasta, salmon, capers and red bell peppers, tossed in a mayonnaise-based dressing, made up the salad that I could not stop poking my fork into, even long after the leftovers had been covered up and tucked away in the fridge. After I met my husband, things changed a little. You see, I married a man with a strong aversion to all-things-mayo. So, I had to get a little creative and started playing around with vinaigrette dressings and mixing up the flavors by using ingredients such as tortellini.

This recipe makes up for the absence of a creamy dressing with little effort. You see, there is bacon involved…and bacon cures all that ails you. Well, that’s what I tell myself as I scarf down the fourth piece with my stack of whole wheat waffles. Not only is crispy bacon sprinkled over the top of this salad, but some of the drippings are used to saute the broccoli florets. Lightened with a lemon juice and white wine vinegar dressing and filled with the aroma of a basil plant warmed by the sun, this is a dish that would be welcome at any backyard barbecue. Serve it as an entree or side dish.

Get Grillin’ update: Congratulations to Heather of Heather’s Dish, who won the Rouxbe Online Cooking School membership with her fantastic recipe for Grilled Summer Bruschetta. Remember to share your side dishes for a chance to win a gorgeous Emile Henry Flame Bean Pot.

The recipe:

Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Drain again. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

See it on Amazon: Fresh Cheese Tortelloni

In a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat, cook bacon until crunchy. Set aside on a piece of paper towel to drain. When cool, crumble the bacon (not too small) and reserve.

See it on Amazon: Calphalon Nonstick 12″ Everyday Pan

TortelliniPSalad1

Pour out all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon grease from the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and add the broccoli florets. Saute until the broccoli is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into tortellini.

Vinaigrette:
In a medium bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. While whisking constantly, slow pour in olive oil until combined.

See it on Amazon: White Wine Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

TortelliniPSalad2

Pour the vinaigrette over the tortellini and gently toss. Stir the basil into the pasta salad. Serve.

Other tortellini pasta salad recipes:

Our Best Bites’ Tortellini Pasta Salad
Two Peas and Their Pod’s Tortellini Salad
Ciao Florentina’s Tortellini Pasta Salad
Words to Eat By’s Winnie’s Tortellini Salad with Fresh Mozzarella

Tortellini Pasta Salad with Bacon, Broccoli & Basil Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 16 oz. cheese tortellini
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
The vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large basil leaves, chiffonaded (rolled and thinly sliced)
Instructions
  1. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Drain again. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat, cook bacon until crunchy. Set aside on a piece of paper towel to drain. When cool, crumble the bacon (not too small) and reserve.
  3. Pour out all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon grease from the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and add the broccoli florets. Saute until the broccoli is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into tortellini.
The vinaigrette:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. While whisking constantly, slow pour in olive oil until combined.
  2. Pour the vinaigrette over the tortellini and gently toss. Stir the basil into the pasta salad. Serve.
Notes
From the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck | cookincanuck.com

Disclosure: This post contains links to my Amazon affiliate page. Any revenue made from sales through these links helps to support this blog. Thank you!

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katrina June 15, 2011 at 2:11 am

Beautiful salad! Love this recipe.

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2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Thanks so much, Katrina.

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3 Stefania June 15, 2011 at 2:53 am

Bellissimi tortellini colorati, ciao ♥

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4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Grazie, Stefania.

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5 Maris (In Good Taste) June 15, 2011 at 3:26 am

Congrats to Heather! What a lovely pasta dish! Always looking for ways not to turn on the oven in summer

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6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I hear you, Maris. I avoid turning on the oven at all costs once the thermostat reaches 90.

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7 Kathy Mercure June 15, 2011 at 5:47 am

Hey fellow Canuck (whom I’m hoping you’re rooting for tonight!) I’ve never eaten a cold tortellini salad before, and like your husband, I prefer my salads a la vinaigrette, so I think I’ll give this a whirl, if it ever actually warms up enough to sit on the damned deck!

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8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Holding our collective breath for the game tonight. I’d be happy to send some of our weather in your direction. Hope it warms up for you soon.

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9 Celeste Jenkins June 15, 2011 at 5:49 am

Congratulations to Heather! This pasta salad is making me hungry. It looks beautiful and you’re right, bacon makes everything better! :) Thanks for sharing!

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10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Thanks, Celeste. Really, there isn’t anything that doesn’t get better from a little dose of bacon.

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11 Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum June 15, 2011 at 5:52 am

Broccoli sauteed in bacon drippings?? You’re going to have me begging for broccoli! That’s impressive!

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12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Ha! Thanks, Lindsay.

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13 claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend June 15, 2011 at 6:14 am

This is a perfect salad for the 4th of July, pretty, will hold up great in heat and of course I know its great because you made it! Hope you will enter my giveaway on my blog too! I have a giveaway that would go great with this picnic treat! thanks Dara!

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14 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks, Claudia.

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15 bellini June 15, 2011 at 7:51 am

I just adore a good tortellini salad. I usually just add pesto but am open to so much more!!!

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16 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Pesto is a favorite in our house, too but sometimes we like to shake things up a little.

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17 Pretend Chef June 15, 2011 at 7:53 am

You had me at bacon. Adding bacon to anything makes it better. This is a pasta salad I can’t wait to try. I am a big fan of pasta salads. Yummy!

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18 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Thank you. I would be happy to eat pasta salad all summer long.

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19 megan @ whatmegansmaking June 15, 2011 at 11:37 am

can’t wait to try this one, I love tortellini!

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20 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Thank you, Megan.

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21 Ethan June 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

As wonderful as the salad sounds, the pictures are beautiful. Fresh veggies, bacon and some well-placed basil leaves, don’t need anything else:)

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22 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Aww, thank you, Ethan. Those basil leaves slipped into the shot at the last second and I’m glad they did.

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23 Sally June 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Everything IS better with bacon. This recipe makes the point. A nice and easy summer supper, thanks!

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24 Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker June 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm

This looks awesome Dara! I love broccoli salad with bacon, and I adore tortellini. It’s like you made it just for me :)

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25 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Well, that just means you have to come to SLC so we can enjoy a plate of this together.

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26 Kimby June 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Dara, I’ve been absent from your blog for work-related reasons… and a defunct pick-up truck (my hubby’s)… and longer hours co-commuting… the list goes on.
But I KNEW I could count on you for “stress relief” — looking at your beautiful photos and reading your pleasant musings brought a smile. : )

THANKS for the delicious-sounding tortellini salad recipe and your alternative to “mayo” dressings. (Although I’m with you 100% on forking into leftover salmon pasta salad… WITH mayo!) ~ Kim

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27 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Kimby, I’m glad to have you back. Thanks so much for your sweet comment.

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28 Kay, The Church Cook June 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Yeah, bacon makes my day and tummy happy! Great recipe, Dara!

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29 Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen June 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Bacon and broccoli sounds like a great addition to tortellini!

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30 Robyn | Add a Pinch June 16, 2011 at 6:29 am

We LOVE tortellini salads around here, too. So pretty.

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31 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel June 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

I love this for the cheese tortellini and bacon! :)

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32 Angie June 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

That looks amazing, bacon makes everything better :)

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33 shelly (cookies and cups) June 16, 2011 at 10:22 am

you’re correct, bacon cures all!
this looks great..i’m not a huge mayo fan either, so this is perfect!

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34 Tracy June 16, 2011 at 10:25 am

I love this recipe, as I’m with your husband and have a bit of an aversion to mayo. Can’t wait to make this for our next bbq!

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35 Kristina @ spabettie June 16, 2011 at 10:45 am

you had me at bacon. and basil. and broccoli!

this is beautiful!

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36 Brooks at Cakewalker June 16, 2011 at 10:51 am

All my favorites are represented here: pasta, BACON, basil and a vegetable…all dressed in a snazzy vinaigrette! You keep batting ‘em out of the ballpark Dara. Way to go!

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37 Beverly June 16, 2011 at 10:53 am

love this, with it being so hot here, it is a recipe that will not heat up my kitchen any more than I have to .

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38 Vicki @ WITK June 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

What? Who doesn’t like mayo? Crazy people :) Great looking mayo-free pasta salad, it would be perfect for an outdoor picnic!

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39 Squash Blossom Babies June 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

Oh, this looks wonderful!!! I’m going to try to leave the bacon out but I have a feeling that is the best part!! :)

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40 Belinda @zomppa June 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

What a lovely, simple, combination!

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41 Dan June 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I’ve never seen tortellini in a cold pasta salad before. What a great idea!

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42 Emily @Cleanliness June 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Oh, how you rock my world!

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43 Kate@Diethood June 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm

So so so soooo pretty! I can’t say that enough. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, it’s delicious. Love it!

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44 Drick June 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Dara that salad looks so good, I have been making a few lately (got one coming up) but most I use mayo as a base… vinegar would be a nice change

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45 Katrina June 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Yum! Looks really good and I love the addition of bacon–who wouldn’t? ;)

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46 marla June 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Dara, I am with your hubs on the vinaigrette thing. Although I like mayo…one of my all time favorite tortellini pasta salads is just like yours. This is a great side for those summer BBQ’s :)

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47 KalynsKitchen June 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

With tortellini, broccoli, and bacon, how can this not be good. (My condolences on the mayo-aversion. And he seems like such a nice guy!)

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48 RavieNomNoms June 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

YUM!!! I love this pasta salad! That is definitely something I would like. I am not normally a fan of pasta salads but that looks amazing!

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49 April @ Girl Gone Gourmet June 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

The best salads are the ones that keep calling out to you from the fridge and this one sounds like it fits the bill! Of course, you always have such great recipes so I’m not surprised :)

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50 Sandra June 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Bacon, Broccoli & Basil say that 10 times fast! Your dressing is a great mayo alternative and everything IS better with bacon.

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51 amanda June 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I tried this salad over the weekend and YOWSERS–it’s awesome! This is my new go-to summer salad recipe.

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52 Nichol June 22, 2011 at 6:05 am

Ahhh this is a beautiful summer dish. I am always looking for new pasta salad recipes since my family calls me the salad girl when we go to outings!

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53 Danielle March 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I searched google for broccoli pasta salad sans mayo. It’s like you read my mind. This is exactly what I wanted. The vinaigrette, BACON… everything is perfect. Thank you for a new recipe staple for my husband and picky me.

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