One of my childhood friends moved to Italy 20 years ago. During a recent visit to see her, I enjoyed a scrumptious salad made with tortellini and fresh vegetables. I fell in love with the dish and have been trying to recreate ever since. How'd I do? —Kelly Mapes, Fort Collins, Colorado
"A variation of this recipe was originally served as a side dish at a popular French restaurant," says Eileen Herr from Indianapolis, Indiana. "I added a few more ingredients to make it a cool and hearty meal. The recipe is very adaptable—it's also delicious with chicken and snow peas."
Cool cucumber and avocado combine with spicy marinated steak to create a fun and tasty balance of flavors your guests will love. If the spice is too much, remove the cayenne and red pepper flakes from the avocado mixture.—Ning Watson of San Diego, California
The L&T tasting panel loved this full-flavored contribution from Jennifer Cain. "When I tasted this tangy salad at a cookout, I immediately asked for the recipe," she writes from Bel Air, Maryland. "Even after I pared it down and added veggies, it was still a hit!"
A tangy dressing makes this refreshing vegetable blend especially pleasing. You could serve it as an appetizer or a side dish. Sometimes I use thinly sliced carrots, zucchini or pearl onions.
"I adapted this great-tasting wholesome salad from another recipe," notes Marge Chapko from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. "I serve it to family , friends and even people who don't like barley#151;and they end up asking for the recipe. I sometimes turn it into a main dish by adding leftover meat."