This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad is loaded with cheese tortellini, tons of veggies, and plenty of fresh mozzarella - all tossed in a super simple pesto vinaigrette. Whether you need a quick salad for your next backyard barbecue, an easy meal prep recipe, or just something different for lunch today, this tortellini salad will quickly become a family favorite!
You'll Love This
- It's so quick and easy! All you've got to do is boil the pasta, mix the dressing ingredients, halve the tomatoes, and dice the red onion! Then throw everything in a bowl, toss it together and lunch is ready. No fancy kitchen gadgets or cooking skills required for this simple recipe!
- It's light, fresh, and loaded with veggies! Pasta salads can sometimes be heavy - loaded with mayo-based dressing and sliced meats. However, this pasta salad is hearty without being heavy - filled with lots of veggies, and a super simple vinaigrette made with basil pesto and white wine vinegar. The light dressing coats every single nook and cranny of the tortellini so there's tons of flavor in every bite.
- It's the perfect main dish, side dish, or meal prep recipe! It's hearty enough for a main dish, and familiar enough that all your friends will want to dig in at the next backyard barbecue. I also like to make a big batch over the weekend so I've got lunches ready to go for the week!
Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Allow pasta to cool to room temperature.
Add tortellini, tomatoes, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, olives, and red onion to a large bowl.
Pour dressing over the salad.
Toss to coat evenly.
Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!
- You can use homemade basil pesto or store-bought. My homemade pesto is super easy to throw together in just a few minutes, but store-bought will work just as well if you don't have time to make your own. My favorite store-bought pesto is this brand. Either will work great, but fresh pesto will give you a bit more flavor!
- Use whatever kind of pasta you'd like. I love cheese-filled tortellini in this pasta. However, any kind short cut of pasta would work just fine including rigatoni, fusilli, rotini, elbow macaroni, or penne. The cheese tortellini just adds a little extra flavor but it's not totally necessary.
- Moderately salt your pasta water. I recommend adding 2-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt to the boiling water before you add the pasta. Salting your pasta water is the first step in salting the pasta itself and will go a long way in boosting the flavor of the entire dish!
- Cook just until al dente. Whichever pasta you choose, be sure to cook it just until al dente. I like to set my timer for 1 minute less than the lowest recommended cooking time and start tasting the pasta at that point. So if the recommended cook time is 4-6 minutes, I'll set the timer for 3 minutes and start tasting the pasta then so that I can strain it as soon as it's cooked through, but still has a toothsome bite.
- Toss cooked pasta with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Don't skip the step of tossing the cooked pasta in olive oil and seasoning it with salt and pepper. This will ensure that the noodles don't stick together and also help the dressing stick to every nook and cranny of the noodle.
- If you'd like to make this salad ahead of time, I recommend tossing the pasta with just half the dressing initially and then adding the remaining dressing to the pasta salad just before serving. This will ensure that the flavors are fresh and the pasta doesn't get soggy. I would not recommend making this more than 2-3 days in advance.
Favorite Pasta Salads
- Cilantro Avocado Southwest Pasta Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe
- Vegan Creamy Cucumber Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Pasta Salad
- Tomato & Mozzarella Caprese Pasta Salad