Make a batch of tortellini pasta salad for your next barbecue or summer get-together. This easy side dish is filled with cheese tortellini, fresh vegetables, and a homemade vinaigrette salad dressing.
You're going to love this tortellini pasta salad because it's a fun twist on a classic pasta salad. The addition of tortellini takes this picnic side dish to a whole new level!
The combination of cheesy pasta with crisp, fresh vegetables is a match made in heaven. Plus, the homemade dressing is surprisingly simple to make and requires only a few ingredients.
Serve this tortellini pasta salad at your next picnic, barbecue, or summer family gathering. It's the perfect side dish to pair with burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, and grilled chicken!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Tortellini - I used 20 ounces of refrigerated cheese tortellini. You are welcome to substitute with homemade, frozen, or dry tortellini. Follow the cooking directions on your specific pasta to cook to al dente. You'll need about 13 ounces of dry tortellini to substitute 20 ounces of fresh tortellini.
- Fresh veggies - I used cucumber bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Other great additions include chopped broccoli florets, chopped celery, and shredded carrot.
- Parmesan cheese - I recommend freshly grating from a block for best flavor and texture.
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar - Can be substituted with apple cider vinegar.
- Seasoning - You'll need salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Italian seasoning can be homemade or store bought. Or, substitute with a combination of Italian herbs you have on hand, like oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, and marjoram.
Here are a few other easy additions (or substitutions) for your pasta salad recipe:
- Chopped pepperoni
- Sliced black olives
- Mozzarella pearls
- Julienned sun-dried tomatoes
- Shredded carrot
- Chopped broccoli florets
Can tortellini be served cold?
Yes! Just like a classic pasta salad, this tortellini pasta salad is best served cold (or at room temperature).
Once your tortellini are cooked through, rinse with cold water. They should feel room temperature, or barely warm to the touch. After your pasta salad is assembled, refrigerate for an hour to chill and allow the flavors to meld.
Make ahead and storage
Your pasta salad will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Pasta salad can be made up to a day before an event and stored in the refrigerator. It is best served within 24 hours for freshest flavor.
Tortellini Pasta Salad
- 20 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook tortellini according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water until tortellini is room temperature. Place tortellini in a large bowl.
- Add prepared cherry tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, and parmesan cheese to bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add your dressing ingredients: olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.
- Other optional additions: 4 ounces sliced black olives, 1 shredded carrot, or 6 ounces of chopped pepperoni.
- Pasta salad will keep for 3-4 days refrigerated in a sealed container.
- As your pasta salad sits, it will continue to soak up your dressing. If your pasta begins to look dry, feel free to add an extra splash of olive oil and vinegar to freshen it up.
Fantastic recipe, and it's so easy to make! My only change was adding a teaspoon of sugar to the dressing.
DELICIOUS! I was looking for a great, versatile pasta salad that was simple and crowd pleasing for everybody - this is it! I kept going back to eat more and more! I halved the recipe to start and it still made a ton. I used cheese and prosciutto tortellini which were excellent. I did not have onion to add so instead I just added onion powder to my dressing. I ended up using homegrown cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, and mozzarella cheese chunks mostly because I had those items on hand. That said, I LOVE that this could easily be adapted to add any veggies and cheese you have or prefer. Because the dressing it flavorful and light, it truly could pair with tons of different combinations.
My only note was that the tortellini were a little large with my chopped veggies. Next time I am going to try the mini tortellini just to see, but would totally make it again and again with the big ones! Thanks for the awesome recipe and I look forward to exploring your site!