Layered Mediterranean Salad

Is it hot outside or what!? Here around Atlanta we’ve had temperatures in the upper 90’s with heat indexes in the 105-110 degree range for the past week. Those high temperatures have sparked some pretty fierce thunderstorms, too. Yesterday afternoon and evening were full of nature’s fireworks lighting up the sky!

On days like this, when it’s just too hot to cook much less eat anything heavy, it’s nice to have a few quick, easy, cool recipes to go to. And this one is a favorite of ours. It’s a layered salad that is light, refreshing and filling all at the same time. And it uses some of my favorite ingredients – those found in many Greek recipes. Even though it does use some packaged items, the tortellini for example, it’s still healthy if you make wise choices in the ones you purchase.

The only heating of the stove involved is cooking a package of tortellini. Surely we can stand to do that even in a heat wave! After that part is done, it’s simply layering ingredients into a pretty bowl.

Layered Mediterranean Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A layered salad using lots of Greek ingredients. Perfect for days when it's too hot to cook.
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 9-oz. package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 3 tblsp. light Greek or Italian dressing, divided
  • 1 cup whole cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 roasted red bell peppers, sliced in thin strips
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 3/4 cup whole black olives
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare the tortellini according to the package directions. I used Buitoni’s cheese and roasted garlic tortellini this time, but a spinach tortellini works great, too. Rinse the tortellini under cold water and set it aside to drain well. Place the tortellini in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons Greek or Italian dressing and toss gently to coat well. For reference, I used Cardini’s Light Greek Vinaigrette.
  2. Place the halved tomatoes in the bottom of a large glass serving bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Next, add the tortellini to the bowl. Layer the remaining ingredients – feta cheese, red onion, roasted red bell pepper, basil, cucumbers, artichoke hearts and black olives.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 1 hour). When ready to serve, add salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese to top.
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And that’s all there is to it! This salad easily doubles and can be used for either your entree or as a first course.

Enjoy! And try to stay cool.

Inspired by a recipe originally from Nestle USA

Other layered salad recipes you might enjoy:

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  1. Teri says

    Sounds wonderful but what I really love is that’s it’s COLD! Detroit has been just as bad as Atlanta.
    Perfect for dinner this week. Thanks!

  2. says

    I love your idea here for a one dish summer meal. It has a great assortment of complementary flavors and an ideal balance between filling pasta, tasty cheeses for protein, plenty of fresh veggies, and a light dressing. Excellent!

  3. says

    We have been having natural lightning here to and the temp haven’t gone down even with the rain. Pepper, onions, tomatoes, cucumber sounds like great dinner in this weather.

  4. says

    This was fabulous!!! We just finished our lunch and both had the same reaction. I’d like more but I’m not going to so there’s enough for lunch tomorrow. What a perfect make ahead dish. In fact, we’re going to Symphony on the Prairie on Saturday with some friends and I’m in charge of the salad so guess what I’ll be making :-)

  5. foodlvr says

    I’ve also been going towards the Greek palate lately – tonight I made pizza with mozzarella, feta (real Greek feta, not domestic), tomatoes and oregano. So good.

    This looks very cooling and delicious.


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