Got lots of vegetables in the fridge? This Antipasto Salad is my favorite way to use them up AND it makes a large enough batch so dinner is done for days.
Do you ever get so excited to see so many fresh vegetables in the late spring that you just buy them all up and then wonder what the heck you’re gonna do with your bounty?
Yep. That was me the other day. I had so many in my grocery cart, which made me smile as I was checking out, but then as I had to find space for everything in the refrigerator, I realized I went just a little bit overboard.
I tend to be a bit OCD when it comes to my kitchen, and I like to have everything in its place. So when my produce drawers couldn’t fit another zucchini or eggplant and I had to start piling things up in random places, I had to act quickly and find a meal idea that would incorporate mega-veggies. You know, so I could restore some order to the fridge.
Luckily, it’s officially grilling season here in Arizona, and my propane tanks are ready to roll.
It’s funny how in the fall I can’t wait to turn on my oven and roast some sweet potatoes, carrots and cauliflower, but by the end of April, I’m SO over that. This time of the year, I start craving fresh, tender veggies that taste best grilled with just a drizzle of olive oil and some Italian herbs.
So, guess what I did with all of those veggies? Antipasto salad, anyone? With some tortellini tossed in to make it a heartier meal.
Have you noticed, this salad has everything but the kitchen sink in it? And, now any vegetables that remain in my fridge fit neatly in the produce drawers. Where they belong.
The beauty of an antipasto salad is that you really can use whatever you like. Got some mushrooms? Toss them in. Hate asparagus, leave it out. Summer squash is on sale — use it! I happen to love the flavor and texture of grilled eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, red peppers and sweet onion, so that was my base. Then I added some sliced radicchio for color, marinated artichoke hearts because I had an open jar to use up, and some giant black olives because — olives. I could eat an entire container.
I thought some spicy Italian salami and good Provolone cheese would be nice. And it was! Feel free to leave out the meat though, if you want to keep if vegetarian.
Here’s another great thing I found out about this antipasto salad. One batch can go from a snack-appetizer with wine on Friday night to a light dinner the next night to lunch the next day. It’s like the dish that keeps on giving.
Grilled Vegetable and Tortellini Antipasto Salad
- 8 oz cheese tortellini fresh or dry
- 1 medium zucchini peeled, if desired and sliced lengthwise
- 1 medium eggplant peeled if desired, and sliced lengthwise
- 1 medium red pepper Cored, seeded and sliced in half
- 1 small sweet onion peeled, sliced into 1⁄2 inch-thick round slices
- 1⁄2 pound thin asparagus tough ends snapped off
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 8 oz marinated artichoke hearts drained and cut into quarters
- 1 6 oz can pitted large black olives drained and sliced
- 1⁄2 small head radicchio outer leaves removed, and remainder sliced into thin shreds
- 4 oz Italian salami sliced into thin strips (optional)
- 3 oz Provolone cheese sliced into thin strips
- optional Italian or Caesar dressing
- Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Heat the grill to medium-high.
- Add the sliced zucchini, eggplant, red pepper and asparagus to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables well and let them sit for about 5 minutes.
- Lay the vegetables on the grill. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your grill.
- Cook vegetables until they are tender and have grill marks on each side. You may wish to leave the red pepper halves on until the outside is well charred if you want to remove the outer skin.
- When the vegetables are charred and tender, remove them from the grill and put them back into the mixing bowl.
- Let the vegetables sit until they are cool enough to handle. Pull the outer skin off of the red peppers and discard it. Slice all of the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and return them to the bowl.
- Add the tortellini to the cut vegetables. Add the artichoke hearts, olives, radicchio, salami and cheese, and toss everything to combine.
- If desired, add a bit of Italian or Caesar dressing before serving. Keep leftover antipasto salad covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.