Cheese-filled tortellini, Italian salami, plenty of fresh chopped veggies, and a delicious homemade Italian dressing to finish it off — this tortellini pasta salad is a fresh and fun twist on a traditional pasta salad!

Tortellini pasta salad in a bowl.

Once the days start getting warmer, it can be hard to want to stand over a hot stove to cook. We get that! Tortellini pasta salad is perfect for those days when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Plus, it’s served cold so you know it’ll be really refreshing on a hot day. It’s packed with tender and cheesy tortellini, salami, fresh vegetables, and mozzarella cheese, and is served with a homemade Italian dressing. The dressing really takes this cold tortellini pasta salad up a notch. You can, of course, use store bought if you’d like. But our dressing recipe is oh-so-easy to pull together — and it’s full of freshness! This pasta salad is so filling that it can be served as a meal on its own. It also makes a great barbecue or potluck dish!

Do You Cook Tortellini Like Pasta?

Like pasta, you need to boil tortellini in hot water to cook it. This cold tortellini salad recipe calls for premade tortellini that you can find in the supermarket. Follow the directions on the package to determine the cooking time. Typically, you don’t have to cook it as long as you would pasta. Make sure to follow the directions carefully — if you don’t cook your tortellini enough your salad will be dry. If you overcook it, it will be a soggy mess!

Do You Rinse Pasta in Cold Water For Pasta Salad?

You want your tortellini to be cold for your cold tortellini pasta salad, of course! One way to speed up the cooling process is to rinse it under cold water in a colander as soon as it’s done cooking. For hot pasta dishes, you should never rinse your pasta. But as this is for a cold dish, you should.

Can I Use Fresh Herbs in the Dressing?

Absolutely! You can make our fresh homemade Italian dressing even fresher when you use fresh herbs. You’ll have to change up the quantities slightly. You’ll want to use one tablespoon of fresh herbs for every teaspoon of dried herbs. For example, instead of using 1 teaspoon of dried basil, use 1 tablespoon of fresh.

Vegetable Variations:

We always suggest that you get creative with your versions of our recipes! You can definitely feel free to replace or add in different vegetables:

  • Cucumber
  • Red or yellow bell pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus 

Protein Variations:

You can also mix and match your proteins in our cold tortellini pasta salad recipe. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Steak
  • Chickpeas
  • Tuna

Spice Level:

We love adding a bit of pepperoncini to our cold tortellini salad. You can feel free to add less, add more, or simply omit if you don’t like the extra spice! 

Troubleshooting: How Do You Keep Pasta From Sticking in Cold Tortellini Salad?

There are two things that you can do to prevent your pasta from sticking together. First, remember to rinse your tortellini with cold water as soon as you remove it from the boiling water. Next, before you start adding the other ingredients, pour half of the dressing into a bowl with the pasta and mix. Only then should you start adding in the cheese, salami, and veggies. The added moisture from the oil in the dressing will prevent it from sticking!

Serving Suggestions

This salad makes for a filling meal by itself, but if you plan on serving it at a party or want to use it as a side dish, here are some of our favorite serving suggestions:

Overhead view of a serving platter filled with tortellini pasta salad.

Make-Ahead Instructions

You can make this cold tortellini pasta salad ahead of time, but we suggest no more than 1 day in advance. It’s best eaten fresh! 

Storage Instructions

Store tortellini pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious pasta salad recipes: