The perfect side dish for Summer! Whether it’s a picnic, potluck, BBQ, or cookout, this easy Tortellini Pasta Salad is going to be a hit!
If you like easy and incredible recipes, this Summer pasta salad is for you!
Made with cooked to perfection tortellini, fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and loaded with Italian meats like capicola, salami, and pepperoni, this easy pasta salad comes together in less than 15 minutes.
Looking for more tasty Summer recipes? Check out some of my favorites like Summertime Fresh Peach Salsa Recipe, Corn and Avocado Summer Salad, and Jumbo Lump Crab Burgers!
Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe
Get ready to make this pasta salad over and over and over again!
This Summer time party side dish is 1000 times better than the same old potato salad you eat 100 times each Summer and get sick of quickly.
Throw away those old recipes and stand out this summer with a stress-free side dish that stands out from the crowd!
Ingredients to make Tortellini Pasta Salad with Italian Meats
Pasta: For this recipe, I used 2 lbs of frozen tortellini. Now, I like cheese tortellini. However, you can use any flavor you want.
From the Garden: Whether you get your ingredients from the garden or your local grocery store, we are going to be using the freshest Summer ingredients. I tossed in 1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup of sliced bell peppers, ¼ cup of sliced scallions, and 2 cups of broccoli.
Cheese: There is nothing better than fresh mozzarella. I used about 1 cup, but if you really love cheese, more won’t hurt!
Italian Meats: Load on the protein with 5 oz of sliced pepperoni, 5 oz sliced salami, and 5 oz of capicola.
Homemade Tortellini Pasta Salad Dressing
What I think really elevates this pasta salad and brings it to a whole new level is the homemade salad dressing.
I promise you don’t want to sleep on this dressing, especially when it only takes 60 seconds to make.
For this easy dressing, you will need ⅔ cup of mayonnaise, ⅔ cup of Italian dressing, ⅓ cup of grated parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning.
How to Make Tortellini Pasta Salad
Thaw or Defrost Pasta. Thaw out frozen tortellini completely, run under cold water then drain and pat dry.
Cook pasta. If your tortellini is not cooked, boil in salted water for 5-7 minutes until tender, then shocks in cold water until room temperature. Drain and pat dry.
Dice ingredients. Dice up your veggies and Italian meats and add to a large mixing bowl along with tortellini and fresh mozzarella cheese.
Make the dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayo, Italian dressing, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning.
Combine. Pour dressing over the tortellini and fold until salad is well combined.
Refrigerate. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Serve and Enjoy. Once your pasta salad is done chilling and marinating in the fridge, serve and enjoy!
Pasta Salad Tips, Tricks, and Variations
Shrimp. I’ve been making this recipe for years, and if you want to make it more of a hearty meal, toss in some cold shrimp for that extra added protein to fill you up.
Meat. Like the shrimp, if you want to make this heartier, but fish isn’t your style, add some chicken into the mix or load on more Italian meats!
Pasta. Feeding a huge crowd and looking to save some pennies? Make this salad a little more economical by substituting the pasta. There is no good substitute for tortellini, given its unique flavor profile, but any short-cut pasta will work.
Pasta Salad Dressing. If you are in a rush and looking to save yourself some time, you can skip the homemade dressing (although I wouldn’t) and use pesto sauce instead and give it a few really good stirs to make sure it’s well incorporated.
Recipe Ingredients Variations. Looking to change things up or swap things out? Consider using black olives, chopped pepperoncini, cucumbers, mushrooms, red onion, and/or fresh basil. You can also use plain greek yogurt instead of mayo to reduce calories and add a tangy flavor.
What to serve with Pasta Salad
Although this Italian pasta salad is out of this world delicious and hearty enough to serve on its own, depending on the occasion, you might need to add dishes.
Consider pairing your pasta salad with some of my favorites like:
- Salt and Pepper Grilled Chicken Wings
- Moink Balls – Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatballs
- Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger on the Grill
- Leftover Smoked BBQ Brisket Subs
- or if you are looking to keep it light and serve it up with some fresh fruit.
Can the Pasta Salad be Made Ahead of Time?
Absolutely. I also recommend making it as ahead of time as possible.
I don’t know about you, but I always find that pasta salad tastes better the next day because it has time to marinate to its fullest potential.
So, as long as you don’t overcook the tortellini, I recommend making it ahead of time and storing it in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.
How Long will Pasta Salad Last?
Out of the fridge. If your pasta salad is out of the fridge, it will last about 2-3 hours. However, try to keep it out of the direct sunlight.
In the fridge. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, give the salad a good toss and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. The salad will last for about 7-10 days and makes for a great lunch option.
Freezing Leftover Pasta Salad. I wholeheartedly do NOT recommend freezing this pasta salad. If you do, don’t tell me about it, I don’t want to know.
What are the best noodles for Pasta Salad?
Tortellini is my go-to with this pasta salad. However, if you have to make a substitution, always go for a short pasta like farfalle, fusilli, or even penne.
Short pasta is easy to serve, scoop, and eat.
Pro-Tip: I recommend whatever short pasta you do choose to have folds or nooks and crannies. This helps the dressing and flavor really seep into every corner, giving you a great bite every time.
More Recipes You Will Love
Chilled Tortellini Pasta Salad With Italian Meats
- 2 lbs Tortellini (frozen)
- 1 cup Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
- ¼ cup Sliced Bell Peppers
- ¼ cup Sliced Scallions
- 2 cups Broccoli
- 1 cup Fresh Mozzarella
- 5 oz Sliced Pepperoni
- 5 oz Sliced Salami
- 5 0z Capicola
- ⅔ cup Mayonnaise
- ⅔ cup Italian Dressing
- ⅓ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- Thaw out frozen tortellini completely, run under cold water then drain and pat dry. If tortellini is not cooked boil in salted water for 5-7 minutes until tender then shock in cold water until room temperature. drain and pat dry.
- Dice up your veggies and Italian meats and add to a large mixing bowl along with tortellini and fresh mozzarella cheese.
- In a separate bowl whisk together mayo, Italian dressing, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning.
- pour dressing over the tortellini and fold until salad is well combined. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving
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