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overhead photo of tortellini pasta salad in a white bowl with a black serving spoon

5 Ingredient Tortellini Pasta Salad

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This quick and easy tortellini salad is perfect for summer! Vegetarian.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 heaping cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 16 ounces mozzarella pearls (we love these!)
  • 2 heaping cups fresh arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together cooked tortellini, pesto, tomatoes, and mozzarella pearls. Cover and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, toss the chilled tortellini salad with the¬†arugula. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

Notes

What kind of tortellini should I use for this pasta salad? We used a 16-ounce bag of frozen tortellini for the salad in these photos, but you can also use fresh or dried tortellini if you like! Different brands package their tortellini in different amounts, so don’t worry if your packages aren’t the perfect size – just aim for 4-5 heaping cups of uncooked tortellini pasta.

The taste of this salad will vary depending on your pesto, so don’t forget to taste and season before serving! You may also want to add a drizzle of olive oil or a few squeezes of lemon juice if your pesto is too dry or needs an extra boost of flavor.

Substitutions. If you can’t find mozzarella pearls, dice up 16 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese into small cubes instead. We love using a traditional basil pesto here, but you could also use arugula pesto, cilantro pesto, or our easy spring pea pesto. Swap the arugula for spinach, kale, or mixed greens and use goat cheese or feta in place of the mozzarella if you like.

Additions.¬†Add any veggies, cheeses, or proteins you like to this salad! It’s great with green beans, asparagus, corn, bell pepper, cucumber, or grilled zucchini. Add grilled chicken, salmon, prosciutto, or diced salami for extra protein. Finish salad with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, lemon juice, or good quality olive oil if you like.

Make-Ahead Tips. Store cooked tortellini tossed with pesto and mozzarella in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you’re making this pasta salad more than a day ahead of time, we recommend waiting to add the tomatoes until you’re ready to serve. Always toss the arugula into the salad just before serving to avoid wilting. If tortellini salad is dry after being in the fridge, toss in a splash of olive oil or lemon juice to bring it back to life. We do not recommend freezing cooked tortellini salad.

Strict vegetarians should look for mozzarella made without rennet and cheese tortellini labeled as vegetarian (made without cheeses that contain rennet). 

Keywords: summer, vegetarian, caprese