Taco Tortellini Salad

This Taco Tortellini Salad makes a great meal or side dish for a hot sandwich, Leader food columnist Kathleen Brotherton says.

Many of us tend to crave “comfort foods” as a way to warm up during the cold, winter months. However, cold-weather meals don’t always have to revolve around hot stews and soups.

Another good choice is a hot, open-faced sandwich or a broiled steak, with a salad on the side, especially this Taco Tortellini Salad.

This dish is a Taco Salad and a pasta dish rolled into one, and it’s very tasty and filling. In fact, it could be a meal in itself. However, if you’d prefer something warm to go with your salad at mealtime, not only does this salad pair well with a hot sandwich but also with a burrito or taco, or even a slice of pizza.

TACO TORTELLINI SALAD

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini

1 (15.5-ounce) can black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 pound ground beef

1 teaspoon Southwest seasoning

1 medium tomato, seeded, coarsely chopped

1/2 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 small can sliced ripe olives

1/2 cup chunky salsa

1/2 cup Catalina salad dressing or thousand island salad dressing

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus enough whole tortilla chips to line serving dish or bowl

Cook tortellini to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Brown ground beef with Southwest seasoning and crumble. Drain any excess fat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine beans, tomato, bell pepper and olives. When ground beef has cooled, add to bean mixture.

In a small bowl, combine salsa, salad dressing and cumin; mix well.

Add cooked tortellini and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to salad mixture in large bowl. Pour salad dressing mixture over ingredients and carefully mix to coat all tortellini.

Line a deep platter or a shallow serving bowl with whole tortilla chips and pour salad into the center so the outside edge is encircled by the chips.

Sprinkle the salad with the 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips and remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Brotherton offers website readers one stellar recipe a week in the “My Leader Yummy” feature.

Looking for a recipe you can’t find? Email me at kbrotherton42@gmail.com and I’ll see if I have it.

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