Tortellini Pasta Salad

This Tortellini Pasta Salad screams side dish for an amazing bbq or picnic. Every time I make it, the bowl is empty when I go to get seconds. Full of cheese-stuffed tortellini, juicy tomatoes, olives, and parmesan cheese, all tossed together in Italian dressing.

tortellini pasta salad in a bowl

Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

Pasta salads are a classic dish that are perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a summer barbecue, a potluck with friends, or a quick lunch at home.

And if you’re looking to switch up your go-to pasta salad recipe, you will love this delicious tortellini pasta salad.

You are going to love this recipe because it’s perfect for using up leftover fresh vegetables, it’s healthy and filling, and budget friendly.

With a prep time of just 15 minutes and a chill time of 30 minutes, it’s quick and easy and easy to make and a crowd pleaser for sure!

Some of my other favorite salad recipes include this overnight 24 hour layered salad that is perfect for prepping the night before. And this taco pasta salad when I am craving Mexican food.

fresh ingredients in a big bowl

Ingredients Needed

Pasta – I prefer to use the plain cheese tortellini but use your favorite flavor!

Onion – A red onion adds more of a bite or substitute a sweet onion.

Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes are easy to use for this or substitute grape tomatoes or Roma tomatoes.

Squash – A green zucchini is perfect for this. Substitute yellow squash if desired.

Bell peppers – A mixture of red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper. Substitute your favorite color.

Olives – Regular black olives are easy or substitute Kalamata or green olives.

Cheese – Parmesan cheese is my fave. Substitute feta cheese or fresh mozzarella pearls if desired.

Dressing – Your favorite Italian dressing works well or use your favorite homemade dressing.

Garnishes – Fresh herbs like fresh basil or parsley are perfect.

Looking for more leftover worthy dishes? Follow LTB on Pinterest and pin to a board!

How To Make Tortellini Pasta Salad

First: Cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and add it to a large bowl.

While the pasta cooks, mix the dressing ingredients if making it homemade.

Second: Add the sliced onion, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced and halved zucchini, chopped bell pepper, chopped basil, sliced black olives, and grated Parmesan cheese to the bowl with the tortellini.

Mix all ingredients together.

Third: Pour the Italian dressing over the mixture and mix again until everything is coated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to an hour.

Fourth: Garnish and serve chilled.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

favorite pasta salad recipes

How long does it last?

Stored in an airtight container, tortellini pasta salad can last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

However, the salad may become dry over time and the vegetables may lose their crunch, so it’s best to eat it in 2-3 days.

Serving Suggestions

This cheese tortellini pasta salad is a great salad to serve with many different dishes.

I like it with grilled chicken or burgers, this old fashioned ham salad sandwich recipe, any BBQ meats, or by itself with some kidney beans added it for protein.

great with spinach tortellini

Can I make it in advance?

Yes, you can. I recommend cooking the tortellini, rinsing it in cool water, and draining completely.

Mix the other ingredients with the pasta and cover with plastic wrap.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, pour on the Italian dressing and toss to coat. I recommend chilling the dressing before tossing in the salad.

Can I freeze it?

While pasta salad can technically be frozen, it’s not recommended.

Freezing makes the pasta mushy and the vegetables will release a lot of water making the pasta salad soggy.

Can I eat tortellini cold?

You sure can! Just be sure to cook it thoroughly, and cool completely before eating.

bowl of pasta salad with tortellini and italian dressing

What are some proteins to add?

If you want to bulk up the salad or serve it as a full meal, add some protein. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • Diced salami, smoked sausage, pepperoni, ham, or cooked bacon.
  • Seafood like cooked salad shrimp or crab.
  • Keep it vegetarian by adding tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans, or cannellini beans.
spoon of tortellini pasta salad

Recipe Variations:

Italian tortellini salad: Add chopped salami, fresh mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, and your favorite balsamic vinegar dressing.

Mediterranean pasta salad: Use Kalamata olives, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers, and a Greek dressing.

Southwest pasta salad: Try a southwest vinaigrette dressing and add black beans, green onions, and Mexican cheese.

bowl of tortellini pasta salad with wood spoon

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Use fresh, dried, or frozen tortellini. It’s delicious in chicken tortellini soup and my Tuscan tortellini soup.
  • When cooking tortellini, don’t overcook the pasta. Cook it al dente or a little under the recommended time.
  • Too much dressing will make the salad soggy.
  • Experiment with different flavors of pasta like spinach or mushroom tortellini.
  • Serve this dish as a side or vegetarian main course.
  • This dish is best served chilled.
  • Spice it up with some red pepper flakes

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

tortellini pasta salad on a spoon

Looking for a delicious and easy tortellini pasta salad? Try this delicious side dish! It’s quick to make and perfect for picnics or summer gatherings.

tortellini pasta salad in a bowl

Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

Looking for a delicious and easy pasta salad? Try this tortellini pasta salad recipe! It's quick to make and perfect for any gathering.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 125kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart


  • 20 ounces cheese stuffed tortellini
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 zucchini sliced & halved
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
  • 2.25 ounces sliced black olives drained
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ bottle Italian dressing


  • Add cooked pasta shells to a large mixing bowl. 
  • Top with all ingredients except for the dressing. 
  • Mix well until ingredients are fully combined. 
  • Add in dressing and mix again.
  • Cover and place inside the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.


  • Use fresh, dried, or frozen tortellini.
  • When cooking tortellini, don’t overcook the pasta. Cook it al dente or a little under the recommended time.
  • Too much dressing will make the salad soggy.
  • Experiment with different flavors of pasta like spinach or mushroom tortellini.
  • Serve this dish as a side or vegetarian main course. 
  • This dish is best served chilled.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 257mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g

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