This Garden Fresh Tortellini Pasta Salad is loaded with fresh veggies, chunks of mozzarella cheese, and seasoned with a flavorful basil avocado oil dressing! This cold tortellini pasta recipe is perfect for summertime picnics and backyard gatherings.
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Ingredients and Notes
- How To Make Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Tips and Variations For Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad
- What are the 5 mistakes to avoid when making a pasta salad?
- Can tortellini be eaten cold?
- Make Ahead and Storage
- Looking for more salad inspiration?
- Garden Fresh Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe
Pasta salads are the best! Loaded with garden fresh veggies, pasta, cheese, and herbs you really can’t go wrong. Perfect for a weekday lunch or light dinner this garden vegetable and herb pasta salad is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Leftovers are great the next day and travel well.
This tortellini salad has cheese-filled tortellini which is filling in and of itself. Tortellini, whether it be cheese or meat filled, is a great alternative to regular pasta in a salad as it always packs a flavorful punch as well as adding more substance to the salad.
Fresh mozzarella adds a soft, chewy, cheesy texture and flavor. Not to be confused with block mozzarella, fresh mozzarella is usually packed in water and is also sold in balls.
Why You’ll Love This Tortellini Pasta Salad
1. Everyone LOVES pasta – A definite crowd-pleaser!
2. Filling – This tortellini pasta salad can be served as a main dish and will keep you full for hours.
3. Versatile – Change up the veggies, use what you have in the fridge. Serve this tortellini salad cold or at room temperature, add some meat or swap out the cheese.
4. Easy – Simple and quick to to prepare so you have more free time to enjoy what really matters.
5. Fast – You can get this cheese tortellini pasta salad on the table in minutes.
Ingredients and Notes
- Fresh Tortellini Pasta – Fresh pasta is great as it cooks up quickly.
- Red Onion – Red onions add a pop of color and a mild onion tang.
- Grape Tomatoes – Grape tomatoes add a burst of color and a ton of flavor.
- Olives – Use a variety of black and green olives that are packed in oil for some saltiness.
- Cucumber – Diced cucumbers add some texture and color. No need to peel.
- Fresh Mozzarella – Cut into chunks, mozzarella adds just the right texture and cheesiness.
- Avocado Oil – Avocado oil is great for a dressing. Olive oil works too.
- Fresh basil – Chopped fresh basil complements the flavors well.
- Sea salt and pepper – Add to your liking.
How To Make Tortellini Pasta Salad
Step 1: Prepare the tortellini according to package instructions but cook for 1-2 minutes less than recommended. This will help stop the tortellini from falling apart which in turn will help the salad last longer.
Step 2: While the tortellini cooks, chop the onion, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives and add to a large box. Cut the mozzarella cheese into chunks and add them to the bowl with the veggies and olives.
Step 3: Combine the avocado oil and basil in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: Once the tortellini is cooked and has cooled slightly, add it to the bowl with the veggies and cheese. Pour in the avocado oil dressing and mix to combine.
Step 5: Serve the pasta salad at room temperature or cold.
Tips and Variations For Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Don’t cook the tortellini too long: Cook the pasta for a few minutes less than the recommended amount of time.
- Change up the veggies: Instead of tomatoes use red peppers for a pop of red. Roast them beforehand for a rich bell pepper flavor.
- Switch the cheese: Instead of fresh mozzarella use burrata or feta cheese for a Greek tortellini salad.
- Add some greens: Mix in fresh spinach or arugula.
- Use a different pasta: Any kind of tortellini whether it be cheese-filled, meat-filled, or mushroom filled will work. Regular pasta will work as long as you choose something short. Stay away from spaghetti, linguini, or other long pasta.
What are the 5 mistakes to avoid when making a pasta salad?
- Use the right size pasta so it works with the other ingredients.
- Cook the pasta slightly al dente so it doesn’t fall apart.
- Ensure there is enough dressing to add flavor.
- Let the pasta cool before mixing with the other ingredients.
- Allow the pasta salad flavors to develop but don’t let it sit for too long.
Can tortellini be eaten cold?
Yes, you can eat tortellini cold, at room temperature and if you are preparing it as a pasta recipe and not a salad it can be eaten warm.
Make Ahead and Storage
You can easily make this tortellini pasta salad recipe a few days ahead of time. The flavors will have time to mingle and the salad will taste great.
Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container. It is probably best not to freeze this pasta salad.
Looking for more salad inspiration?
- Green Tuna Salad
- Cantaloupe Peach Salad With Mozzarella
- Chicken Meatballs Cannellini Salad
- Shrimp Avocado Cucumber Salad
Garden Fresh Tortellini Pasta Salad
- 1 lb fresh tortellini pasta
- 1/3 cup red onion sliced
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup mixed olives in oil
- 1/2 cup cucumber quartered
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella chunks
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 handful fresh basil chopped
- 1 pinch sea salt and pepper to taste
- Cook tortellini according to package instructions. I recommend cooking for 1-2 minutes less than recommended, so the tortellini can hold their shape better and the dish will last longer.
- Meanwhile chop the onion, tomatoes, cucumber, olive and mozzarella cheese and add to a large bowl.
- In a small glass bowl mix in the oil dressing with fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.
- When tortellini is done cooking and cooled a bit, add to the bowl along with oil dressing and fold to combine.
- Serve at room temperature or cold. Leftovers can be refrigerated and will taste amazing for up to 3 days!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.