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Tortellini Pasta Salad

This cheese tortellini pasta salad is a simple and easy meal that you can throw together in 15 minutes or less. Perfect as a fast side, main dish, or quick lunch, this cold tortellini salad will become a family favorite.
a cold pasta salad in a white bowl.
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This Tortellini Pasta Salad is a simple and easy meal that you can throw together in 15 minutes or less. Perfect as a fast side, main dish, or quick lunch, this cold tortellini salad will become a family favorite.

a cold pasta salad in a white bowl.

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Meet your new favorite go-to meal or side dish! Made in a flash with quick-cooking cheese tortellini, and infinitely customizable, this cold tortellini pasta salad is the perfect back-pocket recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

bowls of tortellini, chopped veggies, meat, olives, and other ingredients on a white marble board.

This recipe has:

  • Cheese tortellini – I used storebought from the refrigerator section
  • Veggiesasparagus, bell pepper, and grape tomatoes (though cherry tomatoes will work as well)
  • Italian dressing or vinaigrette – I used storebought but the printable recipe card at the bottom has notes if you need/want to make your own.
  • Pesto – use storebought or make your own (related: Pesto Without Pine Nuts or Vegan Pesto)
  • Olives – I used sliced black olives, but use your favorite
  • Parmesan cheese – finely grated, please, and thank you
  • Protein – I used sliced pepperoni, but salami works as well

How To Make Tortellini Pasta Salad

*I’ll walk you through it here with some photos and tips, and you’ll also find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post with exact measurements, etc. You can click “jump to recipe” to skip down.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and cook the tortellini according to the packaging. Most tortellini needs about 3-7 minutes in gently boiling water.

When the tortellini has finished cooking, drain and rinse it in a strainer with cool water. Set aside.

The veggies are super customizable for this recipe, but I love grilled asparagus in mine. I roasted it in my air fryer at 390˚F for 7-9 minutes. You can use your oven, a grill, or even add it raw.

While the asparagus and tortellini are cooling, it’s time to work on the rest of the ingredients. Chop the peppers, slice the olives, slice the grape tomatoes in half, and chop the pepperoni or salami.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dressing and pesto and whisk until combined.

Add the tortellini and veggies, and gently stir everything to combine (I used a silicone spatula). For the best results (and you want the best results, right?), let everything sit for at least an hour in the fridge.

2 photos showing the process of making a cold pasta salad.

Recipe FAQs

Is This Recipe Served Cold?

Yes, I recommend serving this cheese tortellini pasta salad cold or at room temperature. That makes it perfect to bring to a potluck, BBQ, luncheon, etc.

Can I Make This Ahead Of Time?

Absolutely! This cheesy tortellini salad is made better by sitting in the fridge for at least 1 hour. It gives the dressing and ingredients time to meld, which brings out all the delicious flavors.

Are Ravioli And Tortellini The Same?

Nope, ravioli and tortellini are not the same thing. Both are types of stuffed pasta, but ravioli is flat and the dough tends to be more delicate compared with tortellini.

You can use ravioli in lieu of the tortellini in this recipe, but be extra careful when stirring all the ingredients together. The ravioli is fragile and can easily tear.

How Should The Pasta Be Cooked For This Recipe?

Tortellini should be cooked in salted water that is going at a gentle boil. A hard/rolling boil can overcook or damage the tortellini during the cooking process.

Expert Tips

  • This recipe serves ~3-4 if you’re using this as a main dish, or ~6-8 if you want it as a side.
  • For best results, cut the veggies into somewhat similar sizes. It makes it so much easier to eat.
  • A serrated bread or cheese knife makes the cleanest cuts for slicing the small delicate tomatoes in half.
  • When you rinse the tortellini (step 2 below), make sure you rinse with cold water. This halts the cooking process and will leave you with al dente tortellini, instead of over-cooked.
  • If you have leftover pesto, check out my tutorial on How to Freeze Pesto.

Recipe Variations

You can add all kinds of delicious and seasonal veggies like zucchini, green beans, roasted butternut squash, peas, red onion, spinach, or kale to the dish.

Cheese – Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago are all delicious. Look for grated and not shredded cheese.

Protein: through in some grilled chicken, fish, or white beans.

Add in some sun dried tomatoes, pepperoncini, and/or toasted pine nuts to feel extra fancy.

To make this recipe vegetarian, leave out the pepperoni/salami, and use a vegetarian-friendly Parmesan cheese.

Storage Instructions

Storing Leftovers: Allow the tortellini and any roasted veggies to fully cool before storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Reheating Leftovers: This salad is best if eaten cold, but you can reheat it for 60-90 seconds in the microwave.

Freezing Leftovers: I do not recommend freezing this pesto tortellini pasta salad recipe.

What To Serve With This Recipe

Use it as a side dish to a dry brine chicken or an air fryer cornish hen.

Or ramp up the wow factor and serve it in a buffet of homemade salads like Instant Pot Potato Salad, Chopped Cabbage Salad, Artichoke Salad, and/or a Healthy Pea Salad.

Or go for more carbs (yes please) and serve it alongside Cheesy Garlic Bread, Stuffing Biscuits, or Frozen Biscuits in the Air Fryer.

a white bowl with tortellini pasta salad and gold silverware on a white board with a dark grey napkin.
a cold pasta salad in a white bowl.
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Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Chilling time (recommended)1 hour
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
This cheese tortellini pasta salad is a simple and easy meal that you can throw together in 15 minutes or less. Perfect as a fast side, main dish, or quick lunch, this cold tortellini salad will become a family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 20 oz cheese tortellini
  • 3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1 cup roasted asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces {see notes}
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni or salami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Instructions

  • Cook tortellini in salted boiling water according to the instructions on the package (usually 3-7 minutes depending on the brand).
    20 oz cheese tortellini
  • Drain tortellini and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add pesto and salad dressing and whisk until combined.
    3/4 cup Italian salad dressing, 2 tbsp pesto
  • Add all the other ingredients to the bowl, including the cooked/cooled tortellini, and stir gently to combine.
    1 cup roasted asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces, 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced, 1/4 cup sliced olives, 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half, 1/2 cup pepperoni or salami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 20 oz cheese tortellini
  • Allow salad to sit in the fridge for 1+ hours before serving.

Notes

I roasted my asparagus in the air fryer at 390F for 7 minutes. You can also grill it, roast it in the oven, or sub in your favorite seasonal vegetables.
  1. This recipe serves ~3-4 if you’re using this as a main dish, or ~6-8 if you want it as a side.
  2. A serrated bread or cheese knife makes the cleanest cuts for slicing the small tomatoes in half.
Homemade Italian Dressing
Combine: 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp white or red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried tarragon, (optional) pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Nutrition values are an estimate only.
Nutrition Facts
Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 352 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 37mg12%
Sodium 400mg17%
Potassium 125mg4%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 693IU14%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 144mg14%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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2 comments on “Tortellini Pasta Salad”

  1. Can I make this today and keep it overnight in the refrigerator?

    • Yes, absolutely! Under “Storage Instructions” it has: Storing Leftovers: Allow the tortellini and any roasted veggies to fully cool before storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.