Learn how to make a delicious, cheesy pasta salad to enjoy as a filling meal. This cheese tortellini pasta salad makes an easy light dinner dish or side dish. You can prepare it ahead of time, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights. This summer tortellini salad is served cold, so it’s the perfect dish to consume after a hot day.
Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad
During the summer, I switch to lighter foods. It gets hot in the South, and I don’t want to heat up the house even more by turning on the oven. Instead, I look for stove top recipes, grilling recipes and even cold recipes like this summer tortellini salad.
This recipe for cheese tortellini pasta salad is perfect for hot summer evenings. I’ve served this as a side dish for grilled chicken, and sometimes I serve it as a main dish. While it’s delicious on its own, I also have some variations for this easy tortellini pasta salad.
What I like best about this summer tortellini salad with Italian dressing is that I can make it in the afternoon or even the day before I serve it. It’s best when chilled for at least an hour before serving, so I can make it ahead of time. For families with kids at home, this is perfect for busy weeknights.
It lasts up to 5 days in the fridge. I find that this easy tortellini pasta salad is best on the second day, but you can definitely eat it on the first day after it has chilled for an hour.
Should You Rinse Pasta Salad?
Rinsing pasta is a great debate among home chefs. Not all pasta dishes need to be rinsed, but for best results, you should rinse the pasta before making this cheese tortellini pasta salad recipe.
When pasta is cooked, it’s coated with starch that makes a film on the pasta. This is fine for hot dishes to prevent the pasta from sticking together. However, for cold pasta for this Italian tortellini pasta salad, you should rinse the pasta in cold water.
Rinsing the tortellini in cold water stops the cooking process right away. It also removes the starch, which helps prevent the pasta from sticking together when you serve your cheese tortellini pasta salad.
Is Pasta Salad Supposed to be Cold?
This cheese tortellini pasta salad with pepperoni is best served cold or at least cool. The flavors need time to meld, which happens when you refrigerate it after you make it.
What Goes With Tortellini Pasta?
You can serve this easy tortellini pasta salad as a dinner dish or as a side dish. Generally, tortellini pasta goes well with broccoli, garlic dishes, chicken, tomatoes and carrots.
When I serve this summer salad as a side dish, I serve it with grilled chicken. You can also serve it with grilled sausage or ground turkey recipes.
Variations on This Pasta Salad
This cheese tortellini pasta salad with Italian dressing is delicious on its own, but you can also make it with some variations.
- For vegetarian summer tortellini salad, omit the pepperoni.
- Use gluten-free tortellini for a gluten free Italian tortellini pasta salad.
- If you like a bit of heat, add pepper flakes as a finishing garnish.
- Extra cheese, including mozzarella, provolone, parmesan or cheddar cheese cubes can also be added to this dish.
- Add salami or crushed bacon in addition to the pepperoni for a main dish.
- Garnish this pasta salad with fresh basil or parsley.
- Use zesty Italian dressing for a little more kick in this summer tortellini salad.
- Add sesame seeds or sunflowers seeds for more crunch.
- Sprinkle with garlic powder, paprika or celery seed.
Tips for the Best Tortellini Pasta Salad
Here are some tips for making cheese filled tortellini pasta salad:
- Don’t overcook your tortellini. It can become soft and mushy. Cook them al dente or the lowest amount in the directions.
- Drain the noodles and place them in an ice bath or rinse well with cold water. This stops the noodles from cooking.
- Let the tortellini cool before making this Italian tortellini pasta salad. Warm pasta will soak up the Italian dressing and can get soggy.
- This cheese stuffed tortellini pasta salad needs time to rest before serving. This helps the flavors meld and taste better. Let it sit for at least one hour, but longer is better.
- Cut the vegetables into uniform small pieces.
- If you make this early in the day, add half of the Italian dressing right away. Then add the other half just before you serve this cheese tortellini pasta salad with Italian dressing.
How to Serve and Store Cold Salad
You can store this cold salad for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. However, the flavors can start to get weaker as it sits. You can add more Italian dressing to your summer tortellini salad if you desire.
This cheese tortellini pasta salad with pepperoni can sit at room temperature for about two hours. If you need to set it out longer than that for a party, set out half of it and then switch with the refrigerated portion so your guests will have fresh cheese filled tortellini pasta salad.
Leftover cheese stuffed pasta salad can not be frozen. Use it within 5 days and then discard it.
Cheese Filled Tortellini Pasta Salad Ingredients
To make the best tortellini pasta salad recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- Cheesy tortellini pasta
- Italian dressing
- Italian seasoning
- Cherry tomatoes
- Pepperoni slices
How to Make Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad
To make the best tortellini pasta salad recipe, follow these steps:
1. Start by bringing 2 to 3 quarts of salted water to boil in a large pot.
2. Add tortellini and boil for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the tortellini and rinse well with cold water. Then place chilled tortellini in a large bowl.
3. While the pasta cooks, wash and dry all produce. Then prep the tomatoes, pepperoncini, pepperoni slices and cucumber. Cut the tomatoes in half. Cut off the ends of the cucumbers then cut into slices. Remove the ends for the pepperoncini and cut in half. Take out the seeds, then slice into bite size pieces. Then cut the pepperonis in half.
4. Once you rinse and drain the tortellini for this Italian salad, add the cut tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, cucumbers and seeded pepperoncinis to the bowl with the pasta. Mix to combine.
5. Now mix the Italian dressing and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Stir well, then pour the seasoned dressing over the tortellini and vegetables. Mix to combine the dressing with the pasta salad.
6. Finally, cover the cheese stuffed tortellini pasta salad. Then place in the refrigerator for at least an hour prior to serving.
Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe
This cheese tortellini pasta salad recipe with Italian dressing makes comforting meal or side dish. Perfect for a hot day, this easy summer tortellini salad is great for everyday dinner as well as cookouts and barbeques.
- 12 oz bag of cheesy tortellini pasta
- ½ Cup italian dressing and marinade
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ pound cherry tomatoes
- 8 ounces pepperoncini
- 6 ounce can olives
- 1 medium cucumber
- 3 ounces pepperoni slices
- Boil 2 to 3 quarts of salted water in a large pot.
- Add tortellini and boil for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the tortellini and rinse well with cold water. Place chilled tortellini in a large bowl.
- While the pasta cooks, wash and dry all produce. Then prep the tomatoes, pepperoncini, pepperoni slices and cucumber. Cut the tomatoes in half. Cut off the ends of the cucumbers then cut into slices. Remove the ends for the pepperoncini and cut in half. Take out the seeds, then slice into bite size pieces. Then cut the pepperonis in half.
- Add cut tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, cucumbers and seeded pepperoncinis to the bowl with the drained pasta.
- In a small bowl combine the Italian dressing and Italian seasoning. Stir well and pour over the tortellini and vegetables. Stir to combine.
- Cover the cheese stuffed tortellini pasta salad and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 663Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 3197mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 19g
More Salad Recipes
If you like this summer recipe for cold pasta salad, then be sure to try my other salad recipes:
For more summer recipe ideas, follow Becca Ink on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.