Meatless Monday: Best Fresh Tomato and Ravioli Salad Ever

This entry was posted on Sep 21, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.
meatless mondayMeatless Monday: Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil

After a week away from my tomato garden—on a seven-day silent Insight Meditation retreat—I’m back to feverishly harvesting my back yard abundance. I did a major harvest before I left, so that the retreat center’s fabulous cook could add garden-fresh tomatoes and herbs to her creations. It was fun seeing my tomatoes, basil, mint and Italian parsley show up in meals throughout the week. Fortunately, there’s plenty more for me to enjoy this week and beyond.

I’ve never been a huge fan of pasta salads. It’s not that I don’t like pasta—I do—but pasta so often drinks up the oil and vinegar that flavors the salad, leaving the salad bland and tasteless save for the pasta’s companion ingredients. This salad does not follow the pattern. The companion ingredients, especially if you use plenty of homegrown or heirloom tomatoes, are very strongly flavored, and the ravioli filling also adds its own flavor.

I generally use more tomatoes than the recipe calls for, just because I have them and they’re so good. I usually use Rising Moon Organics frozen ravioli with great results. You can find Rising Moon products at Whole Foods and in some larger grocery stores. Rising Moon has plenty of cheese-filled options as well as some excellent vegan ones.

I’ve never tried using gluten-free ravioli, but there are sources for it. Here are a few:

Udi’s

Conte’s

DePuma’s

Pastosa

This recipe comes from my perennial favorite cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. It calls for peeling the tomatoes, but I have never done this when I’ve made this recipe. I find that the tomatoes hold together better when they still have their skins. Also, because I use heirlooms of many colors, I find the skins to be a beautiful addition to the salad. If you decide not to peel your tomatoes you can skip almost the whole first paragraph of instructions, except for the very last sentence.

In the salad pictured above I used Hillbilly Flame, Black from Tula, Moonglow, Cherokee Purple and Tigerella tomatoes.

Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil
Serves 4 to 6
Make this salad ahead of time so that the flavors can blend a bit. It’s great for a potluck picnic.
1 lb cheese or vegan ravioli or tortellini (This equals two packages of Rising Moon Organics ravioli.)
2 lb (or more!) ripe tomatoes
1  6-oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and halved (optional)
1 bunch basil, leaves torn into pieces (I like to use both green and purple basil for contrast)
1/2 cup olives, pitted and halved
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the ravioli. Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. (To do this, cut a shallow X in the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife, then pour boiling water over them and leave until the skin around the X starts to curl away, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then slip off their skins.) Squeeze out the seeds and chop them into large pieces. Put the tomatoes and artichokes in a large bowl along with the basil, olives, capers and oil.
Once the water is boiling, add the ravioli or tortellini and cook according to the package instructions, then drain well. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture in the bowl and toss gently with a rubber spatula. Taste for salt, season with pepper and sprinkle with vinegar to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.