This delicious tortellini pesto salad is a rich, light pasta salad loaded with flavor, not work. Pest, cheese tortellini, and more come together to create a dish that's as at home on the dinner table as it is at your backyard bash.
I love pasta salad, but years of making the same kind over and over can get boring.
That's why I love this tortellini salad. Thanks to pesto, it's full of flavor and a great change of pace from traditional pasta salad.
If you love pesto, you've got to try my pesto gnocchi recipe or this pesto salmon recipe.
Why You Will Love Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad
- It only uses a handful of simple ingredients.
- It's an easy recipe that takes just minutes to make.
- It's super versatile and makes a great main dish or side dish.
- Perfect for serving a crowd at your next BBQ or potluck!
This recipe is incredibly simple and so is the ingredient list. You'll find everything you need at your local grocery store. Remember to consult the recipe card at the end of the post for exact quantities.
- Frozen cheese tortellini: An refrigerated product to make this salad easy to make.
- Pesto: Feel free to buy your favorite brand or make your own! If you end up with some of it leftover, make a batch of pesto mayo or this pesto salad dressing.
- Grated parmesan cheese: For more cheesy flavor!
- Cherry tomatoes: Work perfectly for making this pasta salad with tortellini.
- Mozzarella pearls: Also called bocconcini, these small balls of mozzarella are super easy to add to salads!
- Fresh basil: An easy garnish that looks nice but also enhances the basil flavor of the pesto.
Substitutions and Variations
- Cheese tortellini: Use another flavor of tortellini or you can swap it for your favorite pasta.
- Parmesan cheese: Grated asiago, romano, or pecorino romano work fine in place of the grated parmesan cheese.
- Spicy: Add a pinch of red chili flakes or a few dashes of this homemade hot pepper sauce.
- Nuts: Top with pine nuts or walnuts for added flavor and texture.
How to Make Pesto Tortellini Salad
This recipe requires very little effort or cooking knowledge to make. Anyone can do it! Check out the highlights below. You can find the complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Cook the tortellini according to the directions on the package.
- Mix in the pesto and add the parmesan cheese.
- Add the tomatoes and mozzarella and mix it all up.
- Transfer it to a serving bowl and top with fresh basil.
What to Serve with Tortellini Pasta Salad
This versatile pasta salad can be served warm as a main dish or cold as a side dish. It's perfect with all your favorite barbecue and potluck dishes like:
- As a side salad, it goes great with Ground Pork Burgers or these Grilled McDonald's Copycat Burgers.
- Serve it up with these Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs.
- Top it with grilled chicken or sliced steak for a main dish!
- For your next BBQ serve it up with other sides such as baked beans, coleslaw, cornbread, or biscuits.
- Everyone loves it with their favorite fried chicken or BBQ chicken legs.
- Cook the pasta to al dente and no further for the best texture and flavor.
- Use a gentle touch when mixing the ingredients together to prevent pasta breakage
- Enjoy this tortellini pesto salad warm or cold!
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 to 5 days. Do not freeze.
- Make the pesto tortellini salad a day in advance if you'd like to serve it cold.
Tortellini is a stuffed pasta traditionally filled with a mixture of meat, cheese, egg, and nutmeg. There are a wide variety of fillings these days including cheese and vegetable fillings.
Literally meaning "to the tooth", al dente means that the pasta is soft but still has a bit of firm bite to it.
Because it actually does! When it sits, the pasta and other ingredients have a chance to absorb more of the liquid in the salad, melding the flavors together even more.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
Do you like salads with pasta? Here are some recipes you may also like to try.
Ready to get cooking? Remember that you can print this recipe if you would like.
Easy Pesto Tortellini Salad
- 1 package (19 oz) frozen cheese tortellini
- 1 jar (8 oz) pesto
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz mozzarella pearls
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil cut into strips
- Prepare cheese tortellini according to package directions. (If you prefer your salad cold, run cold water over tortellini when you are done cooking it. I prefer mine warm, so I skip this.)
- In a large bowl, combine prepared tortellini, pesto, parmesan cheese, tomato halves, and mozzarella pearls.
- Season with salt and pepper according to your preference.
- Top with fresh basil and serve.
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