Summer Tortellini Salad

This 6-ingredient summer tortellini salad is super easy to make and delicious! A great option for potlucks, backyard BBQs, or as a light summer meal.

close up of a serving bowl filled with summer tortellini salad. a striped linen and serving plates peak into the side and back of the photo.

Pasta salad is a summertime staple. Cheese tortellini is the pasta base for this delicious summer pasta salad… what could be better?

I’ve made this recipe for years and years. I started making this vegetarian pasta salad with tortellini in college for tailgates with friends, and just continued to enjoy it summer after summer! This easy side dish recipe is great as written but is also totally customizable to your taste. See the ‘Recipe Variations and Substitutions’ section below for ways to modify. 

Tortellini salad can be prepped the day before your event, saving you time on a busy day! I often think it tastes best the day after I make it (chef’s secret). 

If you’ve been looking for easy side dishes to prepare for your family and friends, this is it! In addition to being a great side dish, tortellini pasta salad is also a fantastic vegetarian main dish ! A must add to your summer menu!

TELL ME ABOUT THIS EASY TORTELLINI SALAD RECIPE

Level of difficulty: Easy. Cook your pasta, chop veggies, mix, and enjoy!

Flavor & Texture: Italian dressing is 

Time: It will take you approximately 20 minutes to prepare your vegetarian pasta salad. Save time by chopping your ingredients and blanching your asparagus while the pasta cooks.

ingredients needed to make 6-ingredient tortellini pasta salad

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

  • Refrigerated Cheese Tortellini
  • Asparagus
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Black Olives
  • Spinach
  • Italian Dressing

OVERVIEW: HOW TO MAKE THIS VEGETARIAN PASTA SALAD RECIPE

  1. Cook pasta: Cook your cheese tortellini according to the package directions. Rinse the pasta with cold water and place it in a large bowl. If you’re still chopping the other ingredients, place the bowl of pasta in the fridge to stay cool.
  2. Chop the veggies: While the pasta is cooking, chop tomatoes, asparagus, spinach, and black olives (if you didn’t purchase pre-sliced olives). Set aside.
  3. Blanch the asparagus: Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Then place chopped asparagus into the boiling water until fork tender (1-2 minutes; 1min for thinner asparagus and 2min for thicker asparagus). Immediately rinse with cool water, and place asparagus with cold water and ice back into the saucepan to halt the cooking.
  4. Mix it up: Place all of the ingredients into the large bowl with the pasta, stir to evenly coat the pasta and veggies. 
  5. Chill until ready to serve: If you’re not enjoying your pasta salad right away, place it in the fridge until ready to serve.
  6. Store leftovers: Store leftover pasta salad in the fridge. Enjoy within 2-3 days.
9 image collage showing the process of how to make tortellini salad

See a step-by-step story series on this delicious Italian tortellini salad here!

HOW TO SERVE SUMMER TORTELLINI SALAD

This easy pasta salad recipe is a great summer side salad for a variety of dishes. It can also be enjoyed as a main dish. A few serving ideas include:

  • Serve with your favorite grilled proteins. Chicken, fish, burgers, brats, or hot dogs!
  • Bring along to a potluck or include as one of the sides for a BBQ.
  • Bring this vegetarian pasta salad with tortellini along as a side dish for a picnic
  • Enjoy as a light lunch or summer dinner as-is!

RECIPE VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Add a protein. Salamii, pepperoni, or pieces of grilled or shredded chicken would all be wonderful additions to this summer tortellini salad. 
  • Add more cheese. Cut up pieces of fresh mozzarella or the pre-made fresh mozzarella ‘pearls’ are both great choices. Shredded parmesan would be another great choice.
  • Add in or try different vegetables: bell peppers, pepperoncini peppers, red onion, and cucumbers are all popular additions to tortellini pasta salad with Italian dressing. Customize your salad to your liking!
  • Add fresh herbs: fresh basil or parsley would be excellent in this summer pasta salad.
  • Make your own dressing: if you’d prefer homemade dressing, make your own! The dressing used on this Mediterranean Pasta Salad would be a great option.
close up of a serving bowl filled with summer tortellini salad. a striped linen and serving plates peak into the side and back of the photo, with a serving spoon sitting in front of the bowl.

MODIFICATIONS FOR DIETARY RESTRICTIONS: GLUTEN FREE

This pasta salad recipe is vegetarian as written. One quick swap can make this into a gluten free pasta salad too:

  • Selecting a gluten free cheese tortellini will make this into a gluten free pasta salad. If you are serving this tortellini salad to someone with celiac disease, it would also be wise to ensure the Italian dressing you pick is gluten free.

EXPERT TIPS

Kitchen shears making ribboning spinach super easy! This is a great alternative to chopping.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Large Mixing Bowl

Measuring Spoons

Measuring Cups

Serving Spoon

Chef’s Knife

Cutting Board

Kitchen Shears

LOVE THIS TORTELLINI SALAD RECIPE? YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY:

close up of a serving bowl filled with summer tortellini salad. a striped linen and serving plates peak into the side and back of the photo, with a serving spoon sitting in front of the bowl.

Summer Tortellini Pasta Salad

This delicious 6-ingredient summer tortellini salad recipe is super easy and always a crowd favorite! A great option for potlucks, backyard BBQs, or as a light summer meal.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 12 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 312 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 20oz package, cheese tortellini
  • 1 pound asparagus, snapped and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1-2 C fresh spinach, stems removed and leaves ribboned
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 3.8oz can, sliced black olives, drained
  • 8 oz Italian dressing

Instructions
 

  • Cook your cheese tortellini according to the package directions. Rinse the pasta with cold water and place it in a large bowl. If you're still chopping the other ingredients, place the bowl of pasta in the fridge to stay cool.
  • While the pasta is cooking, chop tomatoes, asparagus, spinach, and black olives (if you didn’t purchase pre-sliced olives). Set aside.
  • Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Place chopped asparagus into the boiling water until fork tender (1-2 minutes; 1min for thinner asparagus and 2min for thicker asparagus). Immediately rinse with cool water, and place asparagus with cold water and ice back into the saucepan to halt the cooking.
  • Place all of the ingredients into the large bowl with the pasta, stir to evenly coat the pasta and veggies.
  • If not enjoying right away, place the pasta salad into the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Store leftover pasta salad in the fridge. Enjoy within 2-3 days.

Notes

*Note: Tortellini salad can be prepped the day before you plan to serve.
*To store: cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*Recipe variations and substitutions:
  • Add a protein. Salami, pepperoni, or pieces of grilled or shredded chicken would all be wonderful additions to this summer tortellini salad. 
  • Add more cheese. Cut up pieces of fresh mozzarella or the pre-made fresh mozzarella ‘pearls’ are both great choices. Shredded parmesan would be another great choice.
  • Add in or try different vegetables: bell peppers, pepperoncini peppers, red onion, and cucumbers are all popular additions to tortellini pasta salad with Italian dressing. Customize your salad to your liking!
  • Add fresh herbs: fresh basil or parsley would be excellent in this summer pasta salad.
  • Make your own dressing: if you’d prefer homemade dressing, make your own! The dressing used on this Mediterranean Pasta Salad would be a great option.

Nutrition

Calories: 312kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 13gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 608mgPotassium: 288mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1082IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 128mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. However, please know that I strive to provide links to products that I actually use and wholeheartedly recommend whenever possible.
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Comments

  1. Kate P. says

    5 stars
    This is a nice, fresh pairing to something like grilled chicken. I like to ribbon in Basil into this dish for an extra pop of flavor.

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      I’m so glad you enjoy it, and basil is always a nice add too! Thanks for making my recipe 🙂

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      I’m so glad you love this recipe too! And totally agree, so nice on a hot day. Enjoy 🙂

  2. Vivienne says

    5 stars
    Love the cheese tortellini variation…I have made pasta salad forever but the cheesy tortellini is a whole new dimension. I add fresh basil! Vivienne

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      I’m so glad you gave the tortellini version a try! Thanks so much for making my recipe.