BY ALISON LADMAN
For The Associated Press
Roasted beets, tortellini and fresh blueberries admittedly sound like an unusual combination for a summer pasta salad.
But trust us on this one. The flavors and textures work surprisingly well together. The beets are both sweet and savory, pairing nicely with the pasta. The blueberries are refreshing, yet not at all out of place. Their gentle sweetness and low acidity make them an ideal fruit for savory recipes.
Finally, everything is pulled together with a generous seasoning of fresh herbs, and a topping of crumbled soft goat cheese.
ROASTED BEET TORTELLINI SALAD
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (40 minutes active)
2 pounds beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
Two 20-ounce packages fresh cheese tortellini
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
12-ounce container fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
4 ounces soft goat cheese
Heat the oven to 400 F.
Spread the beets on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Drain the tortellini, then spread out on a rimmed baking. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a blender combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the rice vinegar, mint, chives, oregano and sugar. Blend until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss together the roasted beets, tortellini, blueberries, pecans and herb vinaigrette. Gently toss to coat, then crumble the goat cheese over the top. Serve at room temperature. If you make it ahead, refrigerate; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 520 calories; 180 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories); 20 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 55 mg cholesterol; 68 g carbohydrate; 20 g protein; 7 g fiber; 730 mg sodium.