Tortellini Pasta Salad

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My go-to tortellini pasta salad is packed full of tasty summer-inspired flavors! With cheese-filled pasta, juicy tomatoes, briny olives, savory salami, and fresh basil tossed in a zesty Italian dressing. Serve it as an easy side dish or a satisfying light meal!

Tortellini pasta salad in a white bowl.

 

This tortellini pasta salad is similar to my Italian pasta salad, made with cheese-stuffed tortellini in place of traditional pasta. It’s a crowd-pleasing side dish, packed with veggies and tasty add-ins like savory salami, tossed in a simple homemade dressing. With its hearty ingredients, a big bowl of this tortellini pasta salad also makes a great light dinner or lunch! 

Why You’ll Love This Tortellini Pasta Salad

  • Quick. Make this tortellini salad in minutes. It’s ready to serve right away, or you can let it chill in the fridge to let the flavors build!
  • Filling. With cheesy tortellini, juicy tomatoes and olives, salami, and fresh herbs, this Italian-inspired pasta salad is a satisfying light meal on its own.
  • Customizable. I’m always changing up the add-ins and dressing on this tortellini salad. Make it creamy, change the protein, and use any veggies you have on hand to make this pasta salad your own. There are so many variations that you can try!
Ingredients for tortellini pasta salad.

What You’ll Need

The pasta salad itself needs only a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. The dressing also uses pantry staples, or you can always toss this salad in your favorite store-bought salad dressing to save time. Check out my notes here, and scroll down to the recipe card for a printable ingredients list.

  • Tortellini – I like cheese tortellini in my salad but feel free to use any flavor of filling you like.
  • Tomatoes – Grape or cherry tomatoes are best, sliced in half.
  • Salami – You can use mild or spicy salami. I’ve also made this salad with chopped chorizo, or you can use your preferred deli meat. 
  • Olives – I opted for black olives, but green olives or kalamata olives also taste great. 
  • Onion – Red onion has a milder flavor, but yellow onion or shallot works, too.
  • Basil – Rounding out the Italian-style flavors is fresh chopped basil. Other good herb choices are oregano or parsley.

For the Dressing 

  • Olive Oil – You’ll want to use good quality olive oil since it’s the backbone of a good dressing. Another option is avocado oil.
  • Vinegar – I use red wine vinegar, but just about any kind works. White wine vinegar, distilled vinegar, or even balsamic.
  • Italian Seasoning – I use my homemade Italian seasoning. Choose your favorite store-bought or homemade blend.
  • Garlic – Freshly minced garlic has the best flavor. If needed, you can substitute ¼ teaspoon of dried garlic per fresh clove.
  • Mustard – Dijon is deliciously creamy, but you can make this dressing with yellow mustard, hot brown mustard, or whole grain mustard if you’d like.

How to Make Tortellini Pasta Salad

This tortellini pasta salad is low-effort but packs plenty of delicious flavors, so it’s great to whip up on hot days, or when I need a last-minute side dish. It takes just a few quick steps. Scroll to the recipe card for printable instructions.

  • Cook the tortellini. First, boil the tortellini until it’s cooked through. You’ll want to drain the pasta and rinse it well under cold water afterward.
  • Make the dressing. Next, whisk up your dressing ingredients.
  • Toss. Combine your tortellini with the other salad ingredients in a bowl, and drizzle over the dressing. Give everything a good toss to coat.
  • Chill. Pop your tortellini pasta salad into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. I like to make this salad a few hours ahead, or up to a day in advance, as it really gives the flavors a chance to mingle.
Tortellini pasta salad in a glass bowl.

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • Take a shortcut. If you’re in a hurry, or if you’re running short on ingredients, go ahead and use your favorite bottled Italian salad dressing in place of homemade in this salad. It does the trick in a pinch! I won’t tell.
  • Make it cheesy. Since I usually use cheese-filled tortellini, I skip adding cheese to my pasta salad. But if you’re using another type of tortellini (or if you’d simply love some extra cheese!), mozzarella pearls are a great add-in. You could also chop up cheddar cheese, grate over fresh parmesan, or crumble in some feta.
  • Add pesto. In place of (or in addition to) the Italian dressing, try a variation of tortellini salad with fresh basil pesto or spinach pesto. So good! For a hot version, check out this creamy pesto tortellini.
  • Make it Greek. Try a Greek tortellini salad! Combine cooked tortellini with the ingredients from my Greek pasta salad, and toss everything with homemade Greek vinaigrette. See below for more ideas.
Tortellini pasta salad in a white bowl.

More Add-In Ideas

Just like any pasta salad recipe, changing up this tortellini pasta salad is as simple as changing up the dressing or mix-ins. Keep the tortellini the same, and swap in the ingredients and dressings from other recipes, like this dill pickle pasta salad and Caesar pasta salad. You can also try these easy add-in ideas:

  • Chopped marinated artichokes
  • Fresh or roasted bell peppers
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Capers
  • Cooked bacon
  • Celery or shredded carrots

What to Serve With a Tortellini Salad

This tortellini pasta salad comes out on most occasions where I’d serve a classic pasta salad, from cookouts to picnics and potlucks. I love it as a side to grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob in the summertime. The zesty Mediterranean flavors also pair great with air fryer chicken wings, or these pinwheel sandwiches are quick and easy.

Overhead view of tortellini pasta salad in a white bowl.

Storing Leftovers

  • Refrigerate. Keep this salad chilled in the fridge or cooler until serving, and refrigerate any leftovers airtight for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze. I don’t recommend freezing pasta salads as they tend to have a weird texture once thawed.

More Tortellini Recipes

Tortellini pasta salad in a white bowl.
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Tortellini Pasta Salad

By Erin
This tortellini pasta salad is an easy summer side dish packed full of tasty Italian-inspired flavors, with juicy tomatoes, olives, savory salami, and fresh basil tossed in a zesty homemade dressing.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound cheese tortellini
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 oz salami, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook tortellini according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill. 
  • Prepare the dressing by whisking everything together until really well combined. 
  • In a large bowl toss together cooked tortellini, tomatoes, salami, black olives, red onion, and fresh basil. Top with the dressing and mix to combine. 
  • Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Notes

  • You could use bottled Italian Dressing as a shortcut.
  • I use cheese tortellini, but you can use any flavor you like. Since the tortellini has cheese, I skipped cheese in the salad, but mozzarella pearls are a great addition. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 489kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 939mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 489
Keyword: tortellini pasta salad, tortellini pasta salad recipe, tortellini salad recipes
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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