Are you looking for a gorgeous and filling lunch idea? Then this broccoli salad with stuffed tortellini and crunchy bacon is all you need. I like to call this one the perfect summer lunch by the way!
Look, I have a problem here.
My husband is not a huge fan of broccoli. Never been and never will be in the long run.
And neither does he get overly excited about cold pasta salads. But low and behold, when I placed this broccoli salad with tortellini and bacon in front of him for lunch, he wolfed it down without saying one single thing.
Here’s how the conversation went before lunch:
Hubs: “What’s for lunch, hun?”
Me, because I know that he probably won’t like it: “A pasta and broccoli salad I’m afraid.”
Me: “I can make you another salad if you like.”
Me: “It’s got bacon in it.”
Bacon Tortellini Broccoli Salad
Bacon, the duct tape of the kitchen!
And we all love it.
The hubs and I prepare eggs and bacon for breakfast about twice a week. And also twice for lunch if it’s not more than twice. Here in Spain I used to buy salted bacon, which was OK but it was always a bit fatty. Not a lot of meat left after grilling or pan frying it.
Until the day I decided to use the sliced pancetta that was right next to it in the supermarket.
What a difference.
Back to this broccoli salad.
I have prepared another one before with lentils and tomatoes. This time I wanted to go for something more savory to make our tummies instantly happy. And what better ingredient to use then than tortellini!
Love pasta, just any type of pasta but the stuffed one is a superb and filling lunch idea. So we got broccoli and tortellini, what else could we add? Bacon! Well in this case, pancetta. You could even add ham or sliced mortadella if you like.
Oh and also serrano ham now I come to think of it.
I kept the dressing for this broccoli salad pretty simple: onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, salt, olive oil and dried rosemary. Capers for an extra vinegar touch and sunflower seeds for more crunch. Then toss the broccoli salad.
Do you love broccoli?
Then also check out my cheesy broccoli and chicken casserole!
Bacon Tortellini Broccoli Salad Recipe
- 1 small head of fresh broccoli
- 7 oz fresh tortellini pasta (200 g)
- 4 slices salted bacon or pancetta
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp capers in brine
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp dried rosemary
1) Separate the broccoli florets from the stems. Cut larger florets in half. Fill a large pan with water, season with a pinch of salt and place it over high heat until boiling. Then add the broccoli florets.
2) Quickly blanch the florets for 2 minutes. Then remove them using a slotted spoon. Transfer them to a sieve and rinse them under cold running tap water to stop the cooking process. Then put them in the fridge.
3) Now add the tortellini to the boiling water and cook them until tender. Strain the tortellini and also rinse them under cold running tap water. Let them drain and then put them in the fridge.
4) Place the slices of bacon on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Grill or bake the bacon until crunchy.
5) Transfer the cooled broccoli florets and tortellini to a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with pepper, salt and the onion and garlic powder. Also add the capers and olive oil. Shred the bacon up into pieces and add them to the salad.
6) Stir well. Then check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. Sprinkle the salad with the sunflower seeds and serve.
Health benefits of broccoli
Good news! Broccoli bursts of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients. And it contains few calories: about 35 calories per 3,5 oz (100 g) of cooked broccoli.
So does that mean then that broccoli is healthy?
Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, zinc, potassium, iron and magnesium. Broccoli is also a good source of protein. And fibre, which aids digestion, tackles constipation and keeps your blood sugar levers low.
Eating broccoli also makes you feel fuller faster, which makes it a superb vegetable to incorporate into your meals when you want to lose a few pounds.
Broccoli belongs to a family of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables which is part of the Italica cultivar group of Brassicaceae oleracea. Other close relatives you might know well are Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.
Broccoli contains significant amounts of 3 fatty acids, which are also known to be anti-inflammatory.
Raw, steamed or boiled: which is healthier?
Preparing broccoli can change the nutrients in it.
A 2007 University of Warwick study found that boiling broccoli led to the biggest losses of nutrients. Steaming broccoli for up to 20 minutes, microwaving it for up to 3 minutes and stir frying it for up to 5 minutes showed no significant loss.
Raw broccoli however stays packed with all of its nutrients, but eating lots of raw broccoli could also irritate your bowels and cause gas.
What’s Chinese broccoli?
Chinese broccoli (also called broccolini or Chinese kale) and broccoli belong to the same cultivar group of Brassicaceae oleracea. The Chinese broccoli is a vegetable with tough leaves (more like boy chop), has smaller florets and longer, thin stalks.
It tastes similar to broccoli but is much stronger. Chinese broccoli is mainly stir fried, steamed or boiled and served in oyster sauce or with garlic and ginger.
Can you freeze broccoli?
Yes, but only if the broccoli has been cooked, boiled or steamed.
If you freeze it raw, then the broccoli will become bitter and discolored, which will make it look very unappetizing.