This Tortellini Pasta Salad is pasta salad on another level! It's made with cheesy tortellini and the ultimate combination of Italian-inspired mix-ins tossed in a simple Italian dressing.
About This Recipe
If you love pasta salad or Italian flavors then you'll LOVE this recipe!
It's the perfect pairing of cheesy tortellini + chopped fresh ingredients + classic Italian dressing.
One of the best parts of this recipe is that it can also be made ahead of time (ideal for bringing to a party) and the leftovers taste even better the next day.
We love this recipe as a main course but it's also popular as a side dish! It's an easy favorite for potlucks, barbecues, and parties.
You could even stir in grilled chicken or shrimp if you want to add extra protein when serving it as a main dish.
This recipe is very versatile — feel free to experiment with what's in season and what's in your pantry.
Here are a few of the most popular ingredient substitutions and additions:
Tortellini: any brand or flavor of tortellini can be used in this recipe, but I recommend a cheese-filled tortellini. Cook the tortellini according to the instructions on your package (cook time will vary by brand) and be careful not to overcook it.
Mozzarella: if you can't find mozzarella pearls, use any fresh mozzarella and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Salami: use any type of salami (I use Genoa salami) or substitute with summer sausage.
Olives: if you're a fan of olives, ¼ - ½ cup of black pitted olives is a tasty addition to this recipe!
This recipe includes a classic, simple homemade Italian dressing. You can also swap this out for your favorite store-bought version.
Any kind of Italian vinaigrette dressing would be delicious with this recipe: Zesty Italian, House Italian, Classic Italian, etc.
Tips for This Recipe
Don't overcook your tortellini: cook your tortellini until it's just barely cooked and be careful not to overcook it. This will make sure that it doesn't fall apart while boiling and holds up well in your pasta salad.
How to cool the tortellini: cool the tortellini by straining it and then gently running it under cold water. If you find that it's sticking together, toss it with a drizzle of olive oil.
How much dressing to use: this recipe includes a sizable portion of dressing (about 1 cup). Start by adding half and add more as desired.
How to Serve this Recipe
This recipe can be served as a main dish (about 6 - 8 servings) or as a side dish (about 10 servings).
As a side dish, this recipe pairs well with light main dishes like chicken or fish. It's also popular as a side dish for potlucks, barbecues, and holidays because it can be made ahead of time.
Leftovers: store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 - 4 days. Stir well before serving.
Make ahead: this is a great recipe to make ahead of time because the flavors will marinate and strengthen as it sits in the fridge. You can make it the night before you need it or a few hours ahead of time. Stir well before serving.