A crowd-pleasing Italian pasta salad recipe gets even more delicious with the addition of pillowy cheese tortellini. Easy to throw together, and it tastes even better the next day!
Is it even summer if you’re not eating pasta salad? It’s the ultimate example of the breezy, throw-it-all-in-a-bowl-and-serve kind of cooking that we all need and want when it’s hot outside and there are so many nice things to do outside of the kitchen!
Easy, Cheesy Tortellini Italian Pasta Salad
If the idea of a pasta salad with classic Italian flavor and a little extra oomph sounds like a winner for your crowd, this is the recipe you need. Here’s what we’re putting in it:
- Refrigerated cheese tortellini – cooked just shy of al dente
- Cherry or grape tomatoes
- Little mozzarella balls
- Sliced cucumber
- Bell pepper – any color
- Salami – or sub pepperoni, or know that the salad is also delicious without either if you’re doing meatless
- Black olives – or Kalamata (always my husband’s strong preference!)
- And, last but definitely not least, Italian salad dressing
Now, I know we’re going for simple and easy, but making your own Italian dressing at home really is one of those little steps that levels everything up. And it seriously takes 5 minutes, from items I’m willing to bet you already have in the pantry. Give the recipe a look and see if you can make it today!
Optional add-ins for the salad: quartered artichoke hearts, pepperoncinis, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes. This is basically the perfect chance to go through your fridge and call all the bits and bobs into the game.
And making it couldn’t be simpler. Boil water, cook pasta. Prep other ingredients. Mix it all together. Throw some fresh herbs on top for bonus points. You are done!
Be sure to scroll below the recipe card for step by step photos and more tips and tricks, if you’re into that!
I love to serve this for a simple summer lunch, with a few veggie sticks or fruit on the side. Or pair with chicken, burgers, or really anything off the grill for a perfect summer meal. Don’t forget popsicles for dessert!
More Simple Pasta Recipes:
- Caprese Pasta Salad with Prosciutto
- Pesto Pasta with Peas
- Tortellini with Mushrooms, Butter, and Parmesan
If you try this Cheesy Tortellini Italian Pasta Salad or any other recipe on the blog, please rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!
Cheesy Tortellini Italian Pasta Salad
- 3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
- 20 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 1 bell pepper any color, seeded and chopped
- 1 cucumber sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls halved
- 8 ounces salami sliced and chopped
- 4 ounces black olives drained and sliced
- fresh basil or parsley to garnish
- Prep dressing, if making from scratch.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook tortellini according to package directions, removing from the water when it’s just a little shy of al dente. Drain and let cool for about 2 minutes.
- While the pasta cooks, prep remaining ingredients: bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, salami, and olives. Set aside.
- When pasta is drained and has cooled slightly, pour about 1/4 cup dressing over it and toss to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients and toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then pour over additional dressing, toss, and eat!
- You definitely want to try making your own Italian dressing if you never have! You’ll be amazed how easy and delicious it is, and then you can keep the extra around for dressing up easy salads over the next couple weeks.
- Optional Add-ins: chopped pepperoncinis, quartered artichoke hearts, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes. Really just take a look at your fridge/pantry and go wild!
How To Make Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos
Looking for a little more guidance on how to make this happen? Take a peek at the step by step photos and instructions below.
Before anything else, prep your Italian salad dressing, if making it from scratch. (Which I highly, highly recommend!)
Now for the rest: Clockwise from top left:
- Cook the tortellini in boiling water and drain. You want to cook it just shy of al dente, to make sure the tortellini have a bite and don’t fall apart as you toss them with the other ingredients. After draining, let the tortellini cool down for about two minutes, then toss with 1/4 cup of dressing.
- Add chopped tomatoes..
- And cucumber. Looking good!
- Keep going! Add the salami – or don’t, if you want to stay veggie friendly!
- Chopped bell peppers…
- Black olives…
- And toss it all together. I find this way easier to do with kitchen tongs than with a large spoon.
And that’s it! Dig in!