Soft pillowy cheese tortellini, crisp veggies, salami, fresh mozzarella & a zesty Italian dressing to tie it all together! This tortellini pasta salad is an easy make-ahead dish that’s perfect for parties & potlucks & so tasty you’ll be making it all summer long!
As the weather starts warming up, I’ve only got one thing on my mind…PASTA SALAD SEASON! And this Italian tortellini pasta salad needs to be at the top of your “to-make” list! It’s loaded with soft pillowy tortellinis, lots of veggies, salami, 2 types of cheeses and fresh basil all tossed in a vibrant & zesty homemade dressing! (Think of it as a tortellini antipasto salad if you will.😉) It’d be the perfect dish to serve at bbq’s, potlucks, picnics or any type of gathering you have this summer!
Ingredients For Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Tortellini: Used as the base for your pasta salad! Any type of cheese or spinach tortellini will work. (Here’s the one I used – Buitoni’s Three Cheese Tortellini) Sweet Italian sausage tortellini would also be delicious too!
- Salami: A hard salami stick cut it into cubes or presliced salami both work for this pasta salad. (I personally love the bigger chunks you get with the stick, but it’s 100% your own personally preference.
- Tomatoes: Use cherry or grape tomatoes for the best results.
- Bell pepper: Red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers all work for this recipe. (I love using a combo of yellow and green.😊 It looks so pretty in your salad!)
- Onion: Use red onion instead of white or yellow. (Red onions are sweeter and have a much more mild “onion” flavor to them.)
- Mozzarella: We love using fresh mozzarella for this pasta salad! It adds a creamy component that I just can’t get enough of! (Try using mozzarella perls instead of a larger mozzarella ball if possible. They’re the perfect size for your salad and there’s no cutting involved!)
- Parmesan: Completely optional but it also adds a ton of flavor. (I’d suggest using shredded or grated parmesan for the best results.)
- Black olives: Buy them presliced to make prepping this salad easier.
- Fresh basil: Takes your salad to the next level! (Adding fresh herbs to your salads can really elevate their flavor.)
- Homemade Italian dressing: I love love love using my homemade dressing for this pasta salad! It’s tangy, vibrant and full of bold flavors! (That being said, you can always replace it with your favorite store bought Italian dressing too.)
How To Make Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Prepare your tortellini. Cook your tortellini according to the packages directions then set it aside to cool completely. Once cooled, pour your tortellini into a large bowl and set it aside.
- Make the dressing. Whisk your dressing ingredients together then set it aside while your prepare the rest of your salad.
- Prepare the rest of your ingredients. Dice your bell pepper and salami, slice your tomatoes and thinly slice your red onion and fresh basil.
- Mix & chill. Add your prepared ingredients to the bowl with your tortellini and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it’s evenly coated then cover the bowl and let the salad chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Serve! Right before serving, sprinkled some shredded parmesan over the top (or mix it in to your salad) and serve!
- How do I store my leftover tortellini pasta salad? Pour your leftover pasta salad into an air tight container and keep it stored in the fridge. (I’d also suggest saving some of your dressing if you have any left to toss your pasta salad in when you eat it again. The tortellinis tend to soak up the dressing as it sits so giving them a quick toss in the dressing helps to not have a dry pasta salad.)
- How long does tortellini salad last in the fridge? Your salad should stay good for 4-5 days if stored correctly.
- Can I prep any ingredients beforehand? Yes! Your tortellini can be cooked the day before and the rest of your ingedients (except the basil) can all be cut at least 2 days in advance. You can also mix your dressing together and keep it stored in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
- 1 teaspoon seems like a lot of salt for the dressing. Why so much? Ok so this dressing is not like a “normal salad dressing” and if you taste it no it’s own, it’s going to be salty – like wayyy salty… But there’s a reason for it! Because we’re using it to coat bland pasta and lots of raw veggies, it needs to be pungent enough to get the job done. (Trust me – ADD ALL THE SALT.)
Why you’ll love this cold tortellini pasta salad recipe
- Bright colors & bold flavors! Colorful veggies, salty salami & olives, creamy mozzarella, juicy tomatoes & fresh basil – There’s so much going on in this salad your tastebuds won’t know what hit them!
- Perfect for parties! It’s easy to make ahead of time and lasts for days! (Besides who doesn’t love a good pasta salad?!)
- Easy to customize! Not a fan of cheese tortellini? Try using a spinach or meat filled tortellini instead! Love lots of crunch in your salad? Add a few more handfuls of bell pepper! It’s so easy to tailor this pasta salad to fit your personal preferences!
More pasta salad recipes you might like:
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Easy Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad:
- 1 20 oz. bag refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 9 oz. hard salami, cut into cubes
- 2 cups tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup bell pepper, chopped (red, green, yellow or orange)
- 1 6 oz. can black olives, drained & sliced
- 8 oz mozzarella pearls
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated (optional)
For the Italian dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1½ Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
To make the dressing:
- Whisk your dressing ingredients together and keep it stored in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your salad. (Shake or whisk the dressing again right before serving.)
To make the pasta salad:
- Cook your tortellini according to the package's directions then drain them and rinse them under cool water. Set them aside to cool then add them to a large bowl.
- Next add your remaining ingredients (except the parmesan) and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it's evenly coated, cover it and let it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Right before serving, sprinkle your parmesan cheese over the top (or mix it in to your salad) and serve immediately.