Saving calories is good. Saving work is even better – especially when summer heat hits us.

This side dish isn’t only simple and quick, it works in two green vegetables. And thanks to the tortellini, it acts as a vegetable dish and a starch. It’s just what you need to fill out a plate of grilled fish or chicken. Even better? You barely have to heat up the kitchen to make it.

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Zucchini salad with tortellini and peas

Adapted from

  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated 3-cheese tortellini, such as Buitoni (whole wheat is even better, if you can find it)
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half of a lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 2 tablespoons fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package direction, skipping the salt and fat. After about three minutes, add the peas for the final four minutes. Drain and cool 10 minutes. Place the tortellini and peas in a serving bowl.

Using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin, shave zucchini into ribbons, about 1/8 inch thick (thin enough to be flexible). Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

Remove from heat and add the zucchini to the hot skillet, stirring until it’s slightly softened, about one minute. Add zucchini and garlic to the serving bowl.

Combine the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl and whisk. Drizzle over the tortellini mixture and toss to coat everything. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

Serve at room temperature; can be refrigerated for several days.

Yield: 4 servings. Per serving: 283 calories; 12g fat (2.5g saturated fat); 21mg cholesterol; 437mg sodium; 35g carbohydrates (4.3g sugar); 9.7g protein.