I swear, it’s like the Big Bang when summer arrives in Oklahoma.
There’s no gradual increase in temperatures. No lingering Spring coolness. No—it’s just WHAM! One day you wake up and the temperatures are hovering in the high 90’s and the sun sticks around for far too long.
While I’m languishing in the eternal sunshine of the cool-less state, the only thing I can think of is NOT TURNING MY OVEN ON. Seriously. Get me out of the kitchen! I’ve been living off of ultra-low-prep foods like bologna sandwiches and chicken tacos.
One of the last times I turned my oven on was for this warm summer salad. I had to roast some veggies on a high heat (425!!!) but it was well worth the temporary discomfort. I’m not sure why, but roasting vegetables completely changes the taste—to a much better taste.
Peppers and onions are sweeter and potatoes are crispier. This recipe included fennel, which is currently on my ‘must-eat’ list for summer. Fennel is sweet and fragrant, and does not taste quite as licorice-y as fennel seed. I absolutely adore fennel bulb and fronds!
I’m also a huge fan of refrigerated tortellini. Grab a bag and you can make up so many different recipes to go with them! Plus, they usually taste incredible. I’m sure homemade tortellini is much better—but again, we’re going for the low-prep, high-comfort look for summer.
Tortellini and Roasted Veggie Salad
Roasted veggies and cheese-filled tortellini tossed with a roasted garlic vinaigrette and served with spinach.
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into wedges (reserve fronds)
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 3-4 carrots, sliced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 TBS. olive oil
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 (9 oz) package cheese-filled tortellini
- 4 cloves garlic, kept whole
- 2 TBS. white wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the bell peppers, fennel, cloves of garlic and onion with 2 TBS. olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay out on a rimmed baking sheet in one layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender and browned.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of boiling, salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook as package instructs. Drain and set aside.
- Take roasted garlic cloves and push out of skin. Slice and add to a small bowl. Chop about 1/4 cup fennel fronds and add to bowl. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place spinach in a large serving bowl and top with tortellini and roasted veggies. Pour roasted garlic vinaigrette around the edge of the bowl and then toss until everything is well coated. Serve.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl toss peppers, carrots, fennel, garlic cloves and onion with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place veggies on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned and tender.
Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. Make the vinaigrette: push garlic cloves out of their skins and chop roughly. Place in a small bowl. Chop about 1/4 cup fennel fronds and place in bowl with garlic. Pour in vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Place spinach in a large serving bowl. Top with veggies and tortellini. Drizzle vinaigrette around the edge of the salad and then toss until everything is well coated. Serve.