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Looking for something different to take as a side to your next dinner party or potluck? This salad is sure to positively impress eyes and stomachs.  I made this salad last night, along with my italian turkey meatloaf (under menu ideas side link – weekend dinner) for a wonderful  group of friends. 

An easy, hearty and healthy salad full of tomatoes and pasta, tossed in a lowfat, creamy cheesy dressing.  The dressing is always a hit wherever it goes, and yes, I did add pasta to a green salad….why not?

Great stand alone main dish for lunch, or side at dinner.  I added store-bought wedges of rosemary focaccia bread to the picture.  Delicious!

Side note: fabric in picture a souvenir from my trip to St. Johns….could have filled a suitcase with them, but restrained myself.

serves 16 (as a side dish)

  • 12 cups HEARTS OF ROMAINE, chopped (3 bunches/heads)
  • 10 oz ARTICHOKE HEARTS, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 12 oz CHERRY TOMATOES, halved
  • 1/4 cup BASIL, FRESH, chiffonade or sliced, (optional)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup CREAMY PARMESAN DRESSING (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup PARMESAN CHEESE, SHREDDED OR GRATED
  • 2 medium GREEN ONIONS, sliced
  • 1/2 cup SUN DRIED TOMATOES, not in oil, chopped
  • 30 oz CANNELLINI BEANS, (rinsed and drained)
  • 18 oz CHEESE TORTELLINI, WHEAT OR WHITE PASTA (regular or mini size – about 5 cups)

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions, drain and set aside to cool.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add pasta when cooled, toss gently to coat. Top with green onion and fresh, shredded parmesan, if desired. Great side or main dish – 16 side servings.

VARIATIONS: Try using regular pasta like rotini or shells, add any favorite fresh vegetables or beans.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 180 cal, 4.5g fat, 3g sat fat, 20mg cholesterol, 24g carb, 5g fiber, 5g sugar, 9g protein

CREAMY PARMESAN DRESSING

  • 16 oz SOUR CREAM, LIGHT
  • 1 1/2 tsp GARLIC POWDER, (more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup NONFAT MILK
  • 5-6 medium GREEN ONIONS, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1/3 cup PARMESAN CHEESE, FRESH, finely shredded or grated
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 1 tbsp PARSLEY, FRESH, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)

1. Whisk sour cream, garlic, parsley, milk (add more for thinner consistency), salt and pepper together. Fold in green onion and parmesan. Makes about 2 cups. Great on salads or dip with fresh vegetables.

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