Tortellini salad with avocado dressing is perfect for a potluck. With black beans, veggies, pasta, and creamy avocado salad dressing, this beautiful recipe is always a hit.
About this tasty salad
My family is blessed with fabulous neighbors …on one side anyway. And over the years, we have gotten together with them many times for various holidays and celebrations.
I always look forward to this salad. Tortellini in salad is simply awesome. My neighbor does it Caesar-style, with romaine and croutons. And in my version here, I went west. Or southwest. Whichever.
This salad is creamy, awesome, healthy-ish, and perfect for that party or backyard barbecue.
What are things we look for in recipes to make and share with others?
- Easy-to-find ingredients.
- Inexpensive ingredients.
- Easy to make.
- Can be made in advance.
- Flavor appeal to a wide variety of palates.
- Curb appeal. We eat with our eyes first!
This recipe checks every single one of those boxes. Easy to shop for, easy to make, easy to bring and serve. And it is gorgeous.
About the salad dressing
It is just a really nice, healthy dressing that goes well with most everything.
So I threw it in this salad with the tortellini and added other yummy stuff like black beans, tomatoes, and queso fresco. So yummy! Sabroso! ..(I don’t speak Spanish. I just googled ‘yummy’).
This dressing can be made in advance. Just note that once added to the salad, it will oxidize as all things avocado do. So, make the dressing a couple hours or even a day ahead of time, but do not toss it in the salad until ready to serve.
- Romaine lettuce. Romaine is a perfect choice because of its crunch, flavor, and because it doesn’t wilt as quickly as more delicate lettuces.
- Black beans. This is a vegetarian salad, and black beans bring filling fiber, protein, and flavor.
- Grape tomatoes. These succulent little gems bring bursts of flavor and add beautiful color. If not available, substitute cherry tomatoes or chopped regular tomato.
- Red onion. For color and that peppery punch that cuts the creaminess of both the dressing and the filling of the tortellini.
- Cheese tortellini. Simply cook, drain, and rinse with cold water like you would for adding any pasta to a salad.
- Cilantro. This bright herb sings in this recipe, but if you are not a fan then flat-leaf Italian parsley is an appropriate substitute.
- Avocado Herb Dressing.
- Queso fresco cheese. I find this cheese in the dairy section of my regular grocery store or in the specialty cheese section at Walmart.
Queso fresco is one of my favorite ingredients for all things Mexican, but if you can’t find it (and I honestly have never had a problem getting it) but IF you can’t, then just omit and don’t worry about a substitute.
I do not recommend using feta in place of the queso fresco. Feta more pungent and does not work cooperate with the cheesy tortellini filling. No bueno.
- Just like adding pasta to any cold salad, we want to stop the cooking of the tortellini immediately by running under cold water. This will also keep the tortellini from sticking.
- The dressing can be made in advance but do not add to the salad ingredients until you are ready to serve because of the oxidation from the avocado.
- If you cannot find queso fresco cheese, simply omit.
- If you are not a fan of cilantro, substitute parsley.
- Find the tortellini in the section with the fresh pasta. This is often near the dairy section.
Looking for more salad ideas?
- Blueberry Balsamic Salad
- Arugula and Cucumber Salad
- Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad
- Light and Lemony Quinoa Salad
- Cajun Maque Choux Macaroni Salad
- Lemony Orzo and Roasted Corn Salad
- Chopped Salad with Buttermilk-Pesto Dressing
- Spring Potato Salad with Arugula, Peas, and Dill
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Tortellini Salad with Avocado Dressing
- 1 10 oz bag chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 9 oz pkg fresh cheese tortellini cooked according to package directions, drained, and rinsed with cold water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 recipe prepared Avocado Herb Dressing see Notes
- 4 oz queso fresco cheese crumbled
- garnish: fresh cracked pepper and additional queso fresco cheese
- Toss all of the ingredients together and serve immediately.