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Pesto Tortellini Salad

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5 from 8 votes

Pesto Tortellini Salad makes a delicious addition to any meal, summer picnics, potlucks, and bbqs! Cheesy tortellini is coated in fresh pesto and other Italian favorites! Everyone will love this cold pasta salad!

PIN this easy Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad to try later!

Pesto Tortellini Salad on a speckled plate.Pin

Pesto Tortellini Salad

This Pesto Tortellini Salad recipe couldn’t be any easier to make and is perfect all year long. Pack this pasta salad in lunches, bring it on picnics, a summer bbq, parties, holidays, and it even makes a perfect side dish for just about any meal.

Made with fresh ingredients and only takes 10 minutes to make. You can prep this days ahead of time if you wanted to meal prep for work or have it in the fridge to snack on. My 2 year old daughter loved this so much, especially the cheese-filled tortellini and mini mozzarella balls.

Pesto Tortellini Salad in a wooden bowl.Pin

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Perfect all year round: Bring this to the next potluck, BBQ, picnic, summer parties, or anytime you’re craving pesto pasta salad.
  • Family favorite: Both kids and adults will love this recipe.
  • It’s easily customizable: You can add your favorite add-ins and protein.
  • Make-ahead: Since this pasta salad is cold, you can make this up to 1 to 3 days ahead and it will store perfectly in the refrigerator.
  • Portable: You can easily bring this dish anywhere by placing the pasta salad in a bowl covered with a tight lid or airtight container. You don’t need to worry about it staying warm or heating it up.
Tortellini salad on a serving spoon with cherry tomato, and mozarella cheese.Pin

Key Ingredients

  • Cheese tortellini: Fresh tortellini works best in this recipe. You could usually find fresh tortellini near the cheese isle in the refrigerator at just about any grocery store. I used cheese filled, but you could use any filled tortellini flavor.
  • Basil pesto: Use store-bought pesto or homemade fresh pesto.
  • Fresh mozzarella balls: I could eat these straight up as a snack, they are so good! I love using the bite-size mozzarella balls but you could also cut the balls in half. Cutting fresh mozzarella into cubes or using fresh mozzarella pearls or marinated herb mozzarella balls would also work perfectly.
  • Fresh basil: To garnish and add more fresh flavor.
  • Grape tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes: I love to cut them in half so everything in this salad is bite-sized. You could also use sundried tomatoes or diced Roma tomatoes instead.
  • Red onion: Adds crunch and hint of spiciness.
How to make tortellini salad.

How To Make Pesto Tortellini Salad

Cook tortellini: Boil tortellini in a large pot of salted water. Cook according to the package directions or until al dente, about 5 minutes. Tortellini usually cooks very quickly.

Cool: Drain the pasta in a strainer and rinse under cold water until cooled. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Mix in other ingredients: Coat tortellini in pesto, then add the remaining ingredients and gently stir together until combined.

Chill in the fridge: Place the tortellini salad in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until cold if possible. Enjoy!

Tortellini pasta salad with pesto on a plate.Pin

Pro Tips

Make the night before: You can prep this pasta salad the night before if you want to save time! Just leave out the diced onions, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes and add them in when ready to serve so they don’t get soggy.

Use fresh tortellini: Fresh tortellini is always best versus the dried tortellini. The fresh tortellini will have soft and fresh cheese which is what you want.

Always salt your water: Generously salt pasta water with about 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot of boiling water. I usually add 1 tablespoon of salt for every pound of pasta I boil. This will add more flavor to the tortellini.

Let your pasta salad rest: Once you’ve made the pasta salad, let it sit in the fridge to get cold and for the flavors to sit in- for about an hour. This will help make the tortellini salad extra flavorful and perfectly chilled.

Double the recipe: Since this pasta salad lasts well in the refrigerator, I always recommend doubling the recipe because it will go quickly and you could enjoy it for a snack, side dish or lunch.

Tortellini salad on a fork.Pin

Pesto Tortellini Salad Variations

  • Tortellini skewers: Add this pasta salad to skewers for a fun a delicious party food or appetizer.
  • Gluten-free: Make this a gluten-free pasta dish by using gluten-free tortellini.
  • Tortellini: I love using all kinds of tortellini for this recipe. Use any of your favorites such as cheese, spinach and meat filled can all be used.
  • Add meat: Make this a main course by adding your favorite protein or top the pasta salad with grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
  • Warm tortellini pasta salad: Instead of serving this cold, warm the pesto and add it to the drained tortellini so the pasta is still warmed. Add the remaining ingredients and enjoy!
  • Add spice: Mix in red pepper flakes, your favorite hot sauce, or black pepper.
  • Extra cheesy: Add parmesan cheese, more mozzarella balls, or shredded Italian cheese blend.
  • Top with: Balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add fresh more flavor.
Fresh tortellini pesto pasta salad.Pin

Add-Ins

  • Bell peppers: You can use any color bell pepper, just be sure to remove the seeds.
  • Cucumbers
  • Avocado: Either sliced or cubes.
  • Protein: Add your favorite protein! Grilled chicken, smoked salmon, shredded chicken or shrimp make great options.
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Olives: Green olives, kalamata olives, or black olives
  • Pine nuts
  • Feta cheese
  • Capers
  • Arugula
Close up view of tortellini and mozzarella cheese coated in pesto.Pin

What to Serve with Pesto Tortellini Salad

Serve this as a delicious side dish with Pizza Stuffed Bell Peppers, Sheet-pan Chicken and Veggies, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, or Spicy Honey Shrimp. Summer time is a perfect time to make this because it’s cold, light, and the best part is it takes minutes to make.

You could also add this to your lunch along with my Italian Roll Ups, Turkey Cheddar Roll Ups, or Cucumber Sandwiches. This simple dish could also be enjoyed just as it is for lunch or dinner.

Tortellini salad in a white bowl.Pin

Leftovers & Storage

To-store: Tortellini salad is even better the next day because the flavors sit together making this even better tasting. Place leftovers in an airtight container or cover the dish with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days.

To-freeze: Make the recipe as directed then place in an airtight container or heavy duty ziplock bag. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, refrigerator overnight or leave out on the counter for a few hours until softened.

*If the tortellini salad seems dry after sitting in the fridge or after defrosting, drizzle a little olive oil or add more fresh pesto and stir until combined.

Close up of tortellini and pesto.Pin

Other Pasta Salad Recipes

Pesto Tortellini Salad with fresh basil on the side.Pin

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Pesto Tortellini Salad

Pesto Tortellini Salad makes a delicious addition to any meal, summer picnics, potlucks, and bbqs! Cheesy tortellini is coated in fresh pesto and other Italian favorites! Everyone will love this cold pasta salad!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pesto tortellini salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces fresh cheese tortellini not the dried version
  • 8 ounces fresh mini mozzarella balls
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onions diced
  • 1 cup pesto

Instructions

  • Boil tortellini in a large pot of salted water. Cook according to box instructions or until al dente, about 5 minutes. Tortellini usually quicks very quickly.
  • Drain the pasta in a strainer and rinse under cold water until cooled. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Coat tortellini in pesto, then add the remaining ingredients and gently stir together until combined.
  • Place the tortellini salad in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until cold if possible. Enjoy!
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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have everything I need to make homemade pesto. I love tortellini. What a great pasta salad to take to a bbq party.

  2. 5 stars
    This pesto tortellini salad was a great (easy) addition to our weekend brunch. I used basil from our garden and it made the salad even tastier.

  3. In the summer, I use fresh pesto to flavour everything from pastas, to soups, and salads. It’s great in a potato salad BUT amazing in a tortellini salad. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is perfect for a Summer BBQ or family gathering! So much flavor and super easy to make 😉

  5. This was a great recipe and I made it with 3 different types of tortellini and each one was a hit with my family.

  6. 5 stars
    This tortellini salad was so delicious and the perfect side for our recent BBQ. We’ll definitely be making this recipe all summer!

  7. 5 stars
    I love tortellini but never turned it into a salad before! I tried your recipe over the weekend and it was abolutely delicious, will be making again!

  8. 5 stars
    Pasta salads are always my excuse to eat pasta all summer long. These were delicious! The tomatoes and mozzarella made it taste like Caprese salad. So good!