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This cold tortellini pasta salad is filled with juicy tomatoes, sweet corn, and crisp zucchini. Perfect for summer!
WHAT MAKES THIS TORTELLINI SALAD SO GREAT?
I am a huge pasta salad fan. Whether it’s made with rotini noodles, spaghetti noodles, lots of meat, lots of cheese, fresh herbs, or fresh vegetables, I don’t think I’ve ever met a pasta salad I didn’t like.
This cold pasta salad recipe has lived on my site since 2018, and it’s a repeated recipe every summer in our house. In fact, it frequents many of my readers’ kitchens every summer.
Consider this 5-star review from reader Katja:
We made a few alterations with some Trader Joe’s items because that’s what was available (chili lime mayo, balsamic fig vinaigrette, roasted corn), but everything was so delicious that we agreed it’ll go on our meal list. It’s perfect for hot days!
Whether you’re looking to use up leftover or fresh tortellini, put your garden haul to good use, or just looking for a different kinds of pasta salad recipes to change up your usual, this easy tortellini salad may be just what you need!
Whether I’m making a fruit pizza, filling a fresh fruit platter with a bowl of fruit dip, or using up all my zucchini for chocolate chip zucchini bread or zucchini ravioli, this easy pasta salad made with tender cheese tortellini and a handful of ingredients from the garden or produce stand is the perfect side dish for summer potlucks.
Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad ingredients
So what exactly is in this pasta salad and what makes it different from a traditional pasta salad you might want to throw together for your summer gathering?
We have a tortellini pasta base, vegetables, and a simple and easy dressing made from balsamic vinaigrette and mayonnaise.
For this tortellini salad, you will need:
• cooked cheese tortellini
• cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
• Greek yogurt
• balsamic vinaigrette dressing
THIS DRESSING IS CREAMY BUT STILL LIGHT
Let’s talk about the dressing for this cold tortellini pasta salad. The style of the ingredients are completely up to you. What do I mean by that?
Want to use a light mayo? Works great!
Want to use plain yogurt instead of Greek yogurt? Or how about sour cream? Either option works great.
We’re mostly aiming for a lighter dressing that’s still creamy. You can even use vegan options here if you need to! Just be sure you’re also using a vegan tortellini.
HOW TO MAKE THIS SUMMER PASTA SALAD
This could not be simpler, my friends. As long as you remember to cook the tortellini and allow it to cool before starting on this recipe, it will be ready to chill in the refrigerator in a flash!
And guess what? If you forget to cook your pasta, tortellini cooks so quickly! You can cook it up while you prepare your vegetables.
Start by tossing together your prepared veggies, add the tortellini, then toss again.
Next, make the dressing, which just needs to be whisked together in a small container.
Then, dress your salad and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Yes, it’s that simple.
Tortellini Salad substitutions and additions
This is the way our family prefers to prepare this pasta salad, but if any of the vegetables or other ingredients don’t align with your preferences, you can certainly make substitutions. Consider red bell pepper, another color of squash, different tomatoes, or any of your other favorite summer vegetables. You can also use tortelloni, but know that the bites will be much bigger.
If you’re really feeling the tortellini and you’re adventurous, know that you can turn this into an Italian tortellini salad pretty easily by simply using Italian dressing instead of the one here in the recipe. You can make your own homemade Italian dressing (or just buy it!) and use my spaghetti salad recipe as a guide.
Furthermore, since it’s so easy to go “off the cuff” with pasta salads, feel free to add any ingredient you see fit here.
Cheese? Meat? More or different vegetables? It’s not set in stone. I won’t say you have to follow this recipe “to a T” like I do my homemade strawberry cake recipe in order to get the best results.
You know your tastes and preferences, but I urge you to give this tortellini salad recipe as written a try before you stray too far from the original.
Tortellini Salad Recipe tips
When I originally published this recipe, it was for double what is listed in the recipe card. It made a ton of pasta salad, like nearly 2 pounds. That’s a lot of salad.
If you do need to feed a large crowd, though, I urge you to double the recipe. You’ll have about 16-18 servings that way. And you’ll need a really large bowl!
If you’re fine with 8-10 servings, just keep the recipe as is.
How to serve Cheese Tortellini Salad
This cheese tortellini salad is best served chilled as a side dish or a meal on its own. Feel free to add grated fresh Parmesan cheese or cubed or shredded cheese (think fresh mozzarella or mozzarella balls) if you want another element to it.
You can also add your protein of choice if you’re looking for a more well-balanced option that can serve as a main dish.
How to store this Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe
Leftovers only stay fresh for about 4 days, so keep that in mind when you’re considering how much might get eaten and how much you’d be left with.
Of course, this summer pasta salad is always a hit in our house, so chances are you won’t be left with too much, but be aware… This recipe is not for the faint of pasta heart!
Tortellini Salad Recipe FAQs
If you’re looking for something different to serve at your next backyard barbecue or picnic, this is it. It’s the best way to showcase some summer veggies without having to turn on an oven or stove, and you kill 2 birds with 1 stone because what summer gathering is complete without some pasta salad?
And certainly don’t limit this pasta salad to summer! If you’re willing to pay a little extra for some tomatoes and zucchini in the off season, there’s no reason you can’t serve this at any kind of gathering.
Cheese Tortellini Salad
- 8 to 10 ounces (226-283g) cooked cheese tortellini
- 8 ounces (226g) cherry or grape tomatoes quartered; about 1 and ½ cups
- 1 medium zucchini halved and sliced
- 1 cup corn1 drained
- 2 Tablespoons (26g) mayonnaise
- ¼ cup (64g) Greek yogurt2
- 3 Tablespoons (45mL) balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, zucchini, and corn. When the pasta is cool, add it to the bowl and toss together until everything is combined. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, and balsamic vinaigrette. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and stir gently until everything is coated.
- Add salt, taste, and add more salt or other spices as desired and needed. Chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered tightly up to 4 days.
- Corn: you can use fresh from the cob, canned, or frozen corn, any color. I prefer fresh or canned yellow corn for this recipe. If using frozen, thaw and blot dry before adding to the salad.
- Greek yogurt: make sure you are using plain Greek yogurt. You can also use regular plain yogurt or sour cream.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.