Tortellini Pasta Salad

Megan Myers | Stetted Updated

Tortellini pasta salad needs to be on your weekend menu. It's great for taking along to barbecues too!

Tortellini Pasta Salad Photo

Do you remember Suddenly Salad? It’s actually still on store shelves today, but for some reason this boxed pasta mix achieved almost obsessive levels of success in the early 1990’s. I know because we ate it constantly in my house, as a go-to lunch for my mother and me over many weekends and summers.

The product was a hit because it promised ease as well as supposed health (hello, salad was right in the name!) and the commercials always featured a happy cookout. Apple pie and the Fourth of July, right?

Tortellini Pasta Salad Picture

The secret about Suddenly Salad, though, is that pasta salad is crazy easy to make without a box of fancy packaging. Pasta salads like my creamy balsamic chicken pasta salad are my go-to for potlucks, summery side dishes, and sharing meals with new moms.

One of my favorite pasta salads to make, tortellini pasta salad, is even easier than its non-cheesy cohorts because tortellini cooks faster. Why use a boring box of dried elbows when there is tortellini to be had?

I make tortellini pasta salad using the “classic” ingredients: bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, and black olives, tossed in an herby dressing. The dressing is incredibly simple to make, using a few ingredients you probably already have on hand, like red wine vinegar, olive oil, and mustard. Don’t worry if you don’t have the red wine vinegar — practically any vinegar will do, though I don’t recommend distilled white. White wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are all great options.

Tortellini Pasta Salad Image

The tortellini for this recipe is the variety found in your freezer case. You can use any flavor you like, though I prefer to keep the salad vegetarian and go for the classic cheese flavor. My kids enjoy it with an extra smattering of grated cheese, but if you choose to add it, be sure to do so only just before serving, or the cheese will absorb the dressing and not be evenly distributed.

Because tortellini pasta salad is meant to be served chilled, it’s the perfect recipe to make ahead for summer entertaining or enjoying over the week for lunch. Have a batch ready for this weekend’s cookout!

Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

    8 Servings


  • 1 19 ounce package Frozen Cheese Tortellini
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 Cucumber, Small
  • 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, Or grape tomatoes
  • 12 Kalamata Olives
For the Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Shallot
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 6 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper


  1. Fill a large saucepan with 3 quarts water and set over high heat. Once water is boiling, add the tortellini and cook for 3-5 minutes, until pasta is floating on top.
  2. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Let drain in colander while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  3. Seed and dice bell pepper. Dice cucumber. Halve cherry tomatoes. Chop Kalamata olives.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together shallot, Dijon, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Add tortellini and mix well to coat, then add vegetables and mix again.
  6. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.


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Megan Myers

About Megan

Megan is known for her commitment to eating local, fresh food and leading a well-fed life, as documented on her blog, Stetted. Around these parts, though, she's known for her commitment to phenomenal breakfast recipes.