Category Archives: no mayo

Tortellini Salad with Red Bell Peppers, Parsley, Parm and a Lemon-Artichoke Tapenade (and also, “Cousin weekend”)

Cousin weekend. <3


Every summer my cousin Erin and her husband Brian host our little group of cousins on my dad’s side at their weekend place in Brigantine, NJ.  We’re all super into cooking, so the weekend is usually a little bit schmorgasboard, a lot bit Erin’s amazing margaritas, beach, boating, catch-up, recipe swap. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year and this year was no exception.  Even when the power went out (in AC. In the casino. Slot machines were the only thing that didn’t miss a beat).

My contribution was a Tortellini Salad – it takes about 10 minutes to make, keeps really well, and is something you can bring to the beach with you since it won’t go bad if it gets a little warm. I used to eat a version of this all the time when I lived in Bozeman, Montana – their Co-Op Market made this and I loved it – until I realized I could throw it together myself. This even passes the K. Haggs test, which for all of us who know her particular eating preferences, is saying a lot.

TORTELLINI SALAD WITH RED BELL PEPPERS, PARSLEY, PARM, and a LEMON-ARTICHOKE TAPENADE (makes an enormous bowl that will be a good side dish for 7 cousins over 2 days)
– 2 packages tortellini, cooked per directions
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 3 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped (approx.)
– thickly grated fresh parm

Lemon-Artichoke Tapenade
– 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained, and chopped pretty thoroughly
– juice of 1 lemon
– solid 3 glugs of EVOO (or more, if the tapenade is too dry)
– freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste

1. Cook tortellini per directions. Drain and let cool completely. You can toss the tortellini with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

2. Chop up the artichoke hearts, add to a small bowl. Some people pulse this all together in a food processor, but I like the little chunks of the artichoke hearts that you get by chopping them.


3. To that bowl, add the juice of 1 lemon, then the kosher salt & pepper.



4. Add the EVOO & stir well to combine. Taste & adjust. You want the EVOO to kind of bind everything, not have a pool of it in the bottom of the bowl.

5. Chop up the bell pepper & parsley.


6. Add artichoke tapenade to cooled tortellini, mix well to combine. 

7. Add the red bell pepper, parsley and parm. Stir well to combine. Add kosher salt & pepper if necessary.


Weekend highlights:

Boating on the “Cheeky Monkey”. Brian’s playlist for these rides, every time, just knocks it out of the park. Can you link to Spotify playlists from here? If anybody knows how, let me know and I’ll share the one I copied from him.

Margaritas everywhere (the one in the mason jar came with a “two drink max per person” rule):


Erin’s gorgeous garden – this is seriously one of my favorite spaces in America. She does such a beautiful job with it – there are hummingbirds everywhere, you feel like you’re sitting in the middle of the Secret Garden.


Beach – first time this summer!


Revel Casino  – unreal space




“Snacks”
 


Drive in and out – sunshower, Philly without traffic, dumplings from one of my favorite Philly Chinese restaurants, that perfect moment on the way home with the sun shining and a great song on the radio, when you feel like everything is right with the world.


Thanks Erin & Brian – I love you guys & I’ll see you soon!  xoxo



Tuna Chickpea Salad with Cucumber and Red Onion – No Mayo

Canned tuna can be so much more than something that’s mixed with mayo, onion, and celery, and served on a sandwich. Mayonnaise kind of skeeves me out, but I get that it’s unavoidable sometimes. This tuna salad, however, substitutes mayo with an olive oil-lemon vinaigrette, adds chickpeas, and some teeny tiny pieces of red onion and english cucumber. It’s fresh, light, and healthy – and actually keeps really well for up to 2 days – I think it’s a perfect lunch.

TUNA CHICKPEA SALAD WITH CUCUMBER AND RED ONION
– 2 cans tuna (a note about this – I know canned tuna can be loaded with mercury. If you can find it, Wild Planet has incredible canned, sushi-grade and wild-caught tuna)
– 1/2 english cucumber, diced into tiny pieces
– 1/4 red onion, diced into tiny pieces
– 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– handful of parsley, chopped
– Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste
For Dressing:
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– 2 tbsp. EVOO
– Kosher salt (or Herbamare for a little extra boost of vegetables and minerals) and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. In a medium size bowl, combine chickpeas, tuna, and parsley.

2. Finely chop the cucumber and red onion. The tiny size of these pieces really “makes” this salad – the overall taste is just different, somehow, from a salad that would have larger chunks of cucumber and red onion. 




Remove the middle “seeded” part of the cucumber (even though english cucumbers are seedless) to get a little more color from the dark green skin of the cucumber.

  

3. Add cucumber and red onion to chickpea/tuna/parsley mix.

4. Combine dressing ingredients, adjust seasonings to taste.

5. Pour dressing over tuna/chickpea/cucumber/red onion mixture. Stir well to combine. If tuna seems a little dry, add more olive oil and/or lemon juice to taste. Serve by itself or in a wrap with some lettuce.