Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad

Whip up this easy pesto tortellini pasta salad in less than 30 minutes. Filled with fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan.

Table of Contents
  1. About Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad:
  2. What is inside a tortellini?
  3. Ingredients
  4. How to Make Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
  5. Storage Instructions
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe
  8. Other Pasta Salad Recipes

Summer is all about picnics filled with potato salad, macaroni salad and pasta salad. Last week we shared our poppy seed pasta salad. And today I’m revealing a new flavor pasta salad: Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad.

Tortellini is normally served warm, but why not serve it chilled with your favorite pesto, sun dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and Parmesan? It’s a delicious new salad recipe to take to your potlucks or next family gathering.

a bowl of pesto tortellini pasta salad with parmesan and sundried tomatoes

About Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad:

  • Flavor: When I first tasted this pesto pasta salad, it messed with my mind a bit. I’m used to a traditional vinaigrette pasta salad and this one does not have that tangy vinegar flavor. Basil pesto is the main flavor, with hints of garlic and parmesan. It’s warm and earthy rather than bright flavored.
  • Texture: The soft mozzarella pairs well with the tortellini. The sun dried tomatoes give it a little texture. You can cut them up smaller if you’d like.
  • Method: You’ll boil the tortellini on the stovetop, then let the salad chill in the fridge and serve it cold.

What is inside a tortellini?

Tortellini is a stuffed pasta that is filled with ricotta or other Italian cheeses, but also sometimes has spinach or even sausage.

Is tortellini the same as ravioli? No. The two pastas originate from different areas in Italy and are shaped differently. (source)

Ingredients

There are just a handful of ingredients in this pesto tortellini salad.

  • Tortellini. Use a cheese filled tortellini. I used refrigerated Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini. You can use frozen if you’d like.
  • Basil pesto. I’ve not conquered making homemade pesto (although I hear it is easy!), so I purchase Classico Traditional Basil Pesto. I love the flavor. Use your own favorite brand or make your own.
  • Sun dried tomatoes. Choose sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil. You’ll use 2 tablespoons of that oil to thin the pesto for the sauce. Then put the tomatoes in the pasta salad and also garnish the top of the salad.
  • Fresh mozzarella pearls. Mmmm…soft, fresh mozzarella balls. There’s nothing better!
  • Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese adds a burst of flavor, so I add a hefty handful to the top of the salad.
  • Basil. If you’d like, garnish the top of the salad with

How to Make Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad

  • Cook the tortellini. Cook the tortellini according to the package directions. All tortellini is slightly different, so make sure to follow the instructions on your package so they don’t overcook. Tortellini should be tender and the cheese should be melty inside. Ours took about 7 minutes. Save two tablespoons of pasta water, then drain the rest of the tortellini, rinse with cold water and and set it aside to cool.
a pan of cooked tortellini pasta
  • Mix the sauce. While the tortellini is cooking, in a small bowl mix the pesto and sundried tomato oil. Add the two tablespoons of pasta water and mix well.
  • Assemble the salad. Once the tortellini has cooled to room temperature, place it in a large bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes and mozzarella pearls. Add the pesto sauce and mix until combined.
  • Garnish and chill. Garnish with fresh-cut basil, parmesan, and extra sundried tomatoes if desired. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Storage Instructions

Store this salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not freeze this salad.

overhead shot of a bowl of pesto pasta salad with a fork

Recipe Variations

  • If you don’t like sun dried tomatoes, use fresh cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
  • Add grilled chicken for a complete meal.
  • Love onion? Try adding about ⅓ cup diced red onion.
  • Add kalamata olives or other vegetables such as roasted red pepper or artichoke hearts.
closeup of a bowl of pesto tortellini pasta salad
closeup of a bowl of pesto tortellini pasta salad

Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad

4.2 from 5 votes
Whip up this easy pesto tortellini pasta salad in less than 30 minutes. Filled with fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan.
Servings 6
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 20 ounces cheese tortellini (I used Buitoni mixed cheese tortellini)
  • 10 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • 8.1 ounces basil pesto (I used Classico Traditional Basil Pesto)
  • 2 tablespoons sundried tomato oil
  • 2 tablespoons pasta water
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 2 ounces sundried tomatoes

To garnish:

  • 1-2 ounces strained sundried tomatoes
  • fresh basil garnish
  • shaved parmesan garnish

Instructions
 

  • Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions. All tortellini is slightly different, so make sure to follow the instructions on your package so they don't overcook. Tortellini should be tender and the cheese should be melty inside. Ours took about 7 minutes. Save two tablespoons of pasta water, then drain the rest of the tortellini, rinse with cold water and and set it aside to cool.
  • While the tortellini is cooking, in a small bowl mix the pesto and sundried tomato oil. Add the two tablespoons of pasta water and mix well.
  • Once the tortellini has cooled to room temperature, place it in a large bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes and mozzarella pearls.
  • Add the pesto mixture and mix until combined.
  • Garnish with fresh-cut basil, parmesan, and extra sundried tomatoes if desired.
  • Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until serving.
  • Serve cold. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

*Frozen tortellini can be substituted in this recipe. Follow the instructions on the package for cooking.
Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 6, with 1 serving being ⅙ of the salad. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**
 

Nutrition

Calories: 602kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1053mg | Potassium: 592mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1214IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 416mg | Iron: 4mg
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 602
Keyword 30 minute dinner, easy side dish, summer salad recipe

Other Pasta Salad Recipes

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

Get 5 Classic Recipes with a Deliciously Secret Twist

You might also like

Join the Discussion

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments