This delicious tortellini pasta salad is frequently requested at my family gatherings. The fresh ingredients pair perfectly with the creamy cheese tortellini giving it a balanced taste and texture.
It can feed a crowd and is one of my favorite side dishes for parties and events. It takes just 20 minutes to prepare, but tastes like you put in a lot of time and effort making it.
I also love making this Italian dressing pasta salad early in the week and portioning it out for lunches on the go.
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Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad Ingredients
Like any other pasta salad, there are a ton of substitutions and additions you can make to this recipe. I keep the recipe simple so it’s easy to make and store, but feel free to add in anything you want and leave out what you don’t like.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tortellini – I use the refrigerated kind, but you can use frozen or dried.
- Fresh mozzarella – you really can’t beat the fresh flavor, but you can use shredded as well if you’re in a hurry.
- Bell peppers – any colors will do.
- Cherry tomatoes – I halve mine, but you can leave them whole to save time.
- Parmesan cheese
- Italian dressing – use your favorite brand or homemade recipe. I LOVE using Olive Garden’s dressing in this recipe.
- Fresh basil – this adds a pop of fresh flavor to the salad.
Ingredient Substitutions and Add-Ins
Pasta salads are really easy to tweak and make your own. If there are any vegetables or cheeses you don’t like in the original recipe, simply switch them out or omit them completely.
You can also substitute a different sauce, like pesto, for the Italian dressing in this pasta salad.
There are a number of ingredients you can add to the recipe. Here are some easy add-ins that will work great in this Italian pasta salad:
- Red onion
- Artichoke hearts
How to Make Italian Tortellini Salad
This recipe is so easy to make and doesn’t take long at all. All you need to do is boil the tortellini per the package instructions, rinse it under cool water, and then combine all of the ingredients.
Super simple, huh? I like to chill the salad in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.
For full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions, jump down to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to Store Tortellini Salad
Store any leftover tortellini salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
I don’t recommend freezing this pasta salad. However, you can buy the frozen tortellini and prepare it before making the recipe.
Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Large pot for boiling tortellini
- Strainer for draining the tortellini
- Large serving bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Serving spoon
- Cheese grater if using block parmesan
- Knife for chopping vegetables and basil
- 20 ounces refrigerated mixed cheese tortellini
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cubed
- 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper chopped
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup parmesan shredded
- ¾ cup Italian salad dressing
- Optional: garnish with chopped fresh basil
- In a large pot, boil the tortellini per the instructions on the container (generally about 5 minutes). Gently rinse the tortellini under cold running water.
- Transfer the tortellini into a large serving bowl. Add the cubed mozzarella, chopped peppers, halved tomatoes, and parmesan cheese to the bowl. Gently mix the ingredients together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Add the dressing to the pasta mixture and stir gently until all the ingredients are coated.
- Refrigerate the pasta for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Optional: Garnish with fresh basil before serving.
Yes! You can eat cold tortellini. Cold tortellini is used in cold pasta salads and is often eaten cold.
You can keep your tortellini from getting soggy by doing a few things. First, only cook the pasta until it is al dente, per the package instructions. This is usually about five minutes.
Secondly, keep the tortellini from getting soggy by running it under cold water right after it has finished cooking. Only do this with cold pasta dishes though. You should not rinse pasta for warm dishes.
Cooked tortellini should not be rinsed if you are making a warm pasta. However, for cold dishes like this Italian tortellini salad, you should rinse the tortellini gently in cold water.