This Layered Southwestern Cheese Tortellini Salad is summer fresh and filled with vibrant colors and lots of crunch. It's filled with layers of crisp lettuce, red onion, black beans, Mexican corn, peppers, olives, freshly grated colby-jack cheese and cheese tortellini pasta. Topped with a generous drizzle of my Homemade Avocado-Lime Dressing and it's ready to chill to perfection. Garnish with bright red cherry tomatoes and it's a feast for the eyes and the senses.
Layered Southwestern Cheese Tortellini Salad Is Vibrant and Flavorful
Big salads like this cheese tortellini salad is a meal all on it's own and can be a lifesaver on warm days. You know the days I'm talking about, after a hard day at work or the kids sporting events, you want a light meal but, you have no interest in cooking My family will dig into my Chicken Bacon Ranch Layer Salad and BLT Penne Pasta Salad in a hot minute. The beauty of these layered dinner salads is, you can have this salad chilling in the fridge and it's ready to go when the family is ready to eat. It also makes a pretty centerpiece and tasty addition to your backyard picnic menu pairing with a variety of entrees such as hot dogs, burgers, steak, chicken or pork. The element of pasta and it gets a thumbs up from the kids, too.
Salad Serving Tips
There's plenty of room in this salad for personalizing ingredients. I use black beans for one layer but, pintos or kidney beans would work, if you prefer. If you're making this salad it in advance, I recommend dressing it lightly then serve the rest of the dressing on the side. In doing so, each person can finish it off to their liking. I highly recommend making your own avocado-lime ranch dressing for the ideal flavor combination. Another delicious salad with a kick is this Jalapeno Popper Pasta Salad from Spicy Southern Kitchen combining two favorites into one delicious dish.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Layered Southwestern Cheese Tortellini Salad
- 8 cups green leaf or romaine lettuce roughly chopped and divided
- 1 cup Mexican corn with peppers
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed
- 1 large poblano pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved and divided
- 1 4 oz can sliced black olives, drained
- 2 ½ cups shredded colby-jack or sharp cheddar divided
- 1 lb cheese tortellini cooked and cooled
- Avocado-Lime Ranch Dressing or prepared Ranch dressing
- Cook the tortellini per the package directions in salted water until al dente. Drain well and cool.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss with ½ cup dressing and mix to coat.. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or trifle bowl layer in this order: 6 cups lettuce, corn, onion, red bell pepper, ½ cup dressing,1 cup shredded cheese, black beans, poblano pepper, ⅔ cherry tomatoes, black olives, 1 cup shredded cheese, and tortellini.
- Drizzle the tortellini with a small amount of dressing (eye ball the amount) then garnish with reserved ½ cup cheese, ⅓ cherry tomatoes and 2 cups lettuce.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature with additional dressing on the side.