This is a classic tortellini pasta salad that’s perfect for cookouts, BBQs, and potlucks! It’s a universal crowd-pleaser thanks to cheesy pasta pockets and all the other fresh and flavorful ingredients. Make it for your next picnic!
I’m coming at you with another pasta salad recipe because it looks as though warm weather is finally going to stick around for awhile! With lots of picnics and BBQs coming up, this tortellini pasta salad is absolutely perfect for any cookout.
With our basement finished, I have been really itching to have some people over! Well, we don’t have furniture down there yet, so I should probably cool my jets a little.
Side note: It’s coming this week! I can’t wait. We actually bought new furniture for our living room and we’re moving our current living room furniture to the basement.
I’m also itching to perk up our outdoor space – we want to expand our patio, but in general, I need to do some spring cleaning up. The patio will have to wait for a bit (basements and roofs are expensive!), but it doesn’t keep me from dreaming about plans!
About this tortellini pasta salad
This tortellini pasta salad is a major crowd pleaser with classic pasta salad ingredients like green peppers, olives, onions, pepperoni and flavorful chunks of cheese. I can never get enough vegetables so I also added cucumber and tomatoes. I finished it off with tons of fresh parsley to brighten things up and an easy homemade vinaigrette to bring everything together.
Variations on this pasta salad
As always, this is a recipe you can have fun with and make your own!
- If you don’t like one of the ingredients, leave it out! There is a lot going on in this salad (in a good way), so the omission of one ingredient won’t make a huge difference. I mean…don’t leave the tortellini out…that’s a given, right?
- Vegetarian? Leave out the pepperoni.
- Gluten-free? Find gluten-free tortellini.
- Like it a little on the spicy side? Add more red pepper flakes to taste.
- Have fun with the cheese. I used mozzarella (it was fitting for the Italian vibe of this pasta salad, but it was also maaaaybe because it’s what I had), but provolone or cheddar would also be delicious.
Tip: If you’re making this in advance, the pasta may soak up some of the vinaigrette.
You could either
a) add half of it and reserve the second half for right before serving
b) make a little extra dressing right before serving and give it another little shower of vinaigrette love
Happy BarBQing friends! You are going to adore this salad. I can’t wait to make it again.
More great pasta salad recipes for you to try:
- Spring Orzo Salad with Arugula, Asparagus, and Pine Nuts
- Bruschetta Orzo Pasta Salad (I loooove orzo!)
- Greek Pasta Salad with Feta
- Herbed Israeli Couscous Salad with Tomato and Mozzarella
- Crispy Bacon Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs from How Sweet Eats
- Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen
- 10 ounces spinach or cheese tortellini, cooked according to package, drained and rinsed with cold water
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper (about 1 large bell pepper)
- 1 cup cup halved or quartered grape tomatoes
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup diced red onions (see note) - more to taste
- 1 cup cubed mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounce)
- 4 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into quarters
- 1 can (3.8oz) sliced black olives, drained
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 teaspoon sugar or agave nectar
- In a large bowl, combine cooked and cooled tortellini with bell pepper, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, mozzarella, pepperoni, olives, and parsley.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together dressing ingredients: olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. You can also add a bit of sugar or agave to dressing to sweeten it if you prefer it less tangy. Pour dressing over salad and stir to combine all ingredients and coat with dressing.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- I soak my onions in ice water before adding them to the salad. It’s optional, but it takes the strength of them down a notch and prevents them from being overwhelming.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Husband’s take: Ben feels the same way I do about onions and olives, but aside from that, he had absolutely no complaints about this pasta salad.
Changes I would make: None are necessary! If you really don’t like a particular vegetable, you could leave it out for sure. You could also make this vegetarian by omitting the pepperoni.