As the warmer weekends are slowly making an entrance, it is the perfect time to plan a barbecue with family and  friends. Keeping it simple and easy is definitely the way to go,  especially after a busy work week. Hot dogs, juicy hamburgers, tangy barbecue chicken or grilled fish with sweet summer salsas — it is  all delicious and satisfying when grilled to perfection!

We love to serve fresh blueberry lemonade or an iced sweet  tea with fresh mint, but what about the side dishes? We are so sick of  that same coleslaw  and potato salad recipe and “that every picnic macaroni salad”  the kids want us to make! !

Our Aunt Fran (DeDe) came up with a great new idea for a side picnic  salad. It is made with small cheese-filled raviolis, sweet tomatoes,  fresh basil, and a sprinkle of roasted pignoli nuts…..YUM!

Everyone loved our new side salad and it is now the new dish!


Ravioli Picnic Salad

Ravioli Picnic Salad is a fresh choice for summer celebrations.

Ravioli Picnic Salad

1 lb. small cheese ravioli

2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup black olives

1 shallot, sliced thin


1 small bunch fresh basil, torn

grated parmesan cheese for garnish

toasted pignoli nuts for garnish (optional)


1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white rice vinegar

splash of red vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook raviolis according to package directions. Drain and place raviolis  in large serving dish in a single layer while cooling. (This way they  won’t stick to each other.)

While pasta is cooling, combine the oil, vinegars, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk ingredients together. Place raviolis and the rest of  the ingredients in large bowl and pour just enough dressing to coat.  Very gently toss salad to blend all ingredients. Sprinkle with the torn basil, grated Parmesan, and toasted pignolis. Taste and season again if  needed.