Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad is a super simple, creamy, cold pasta salad that’s perfect for every summer gathering. Cheese tortellini pasta and fresh tomatoes are tossed in a basil pesto and nonfat Greek yogurt dressing. The tortellini salad recipe is a walk in the park, just like my summer Macaroni Salad.
Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad
Everyone needs a go-to recipe for a scrumptious, tortellini pasta salad.
And who doesn’t love pesto and pasta, especially during the summer?!
This recipe is inspired by my former life as a deli manager here in Northern California’s wine country.
We had a house-made Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad that literally flew out the door when it hit the shelves.
People were crazed for it, with good reason!
It was made with cheese tortellini pasta, and the dressing was a pesto cream sauce that our chef blended in a food processor.
I don’t know the exact ingredients, but it was heavenly.
I’ve always wanted to come up with my interpretation of that salad…so I did!
How to make Pesto Pasta Salad
Step 1. Boil the pre-cooked, cheese tortellini; rinse, drain, and set aside to cool.
Step 2. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over cooked and cooled pasta and gently mix with your hands (or a spoon).
Step 3. Combine pesto, Greek yogurt, mayo, and seasonings to make the dressing / sauce. The Greek yogurt trick is the calorie-reducing technique I use in so many creamy recipes.
Step 4. Fold dressing into cooked tortellini pasta.
Step 5. Boom! You have a gorgeous pesto tortellini salad! Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
You can serve this pasta salad warm too!
Yep, just pop it into the microwave long enough to heat the pasta all the way through, and you’ll be amazed at how creamy and delicious it is when it’s warmed through.
Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad Ingredients
- packaged cheese tortellini pasta
- nonfat Greek yogurt (or any yogurt)
- basil pesto
- mayonnaise (optional)
- extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- fresh tomatoes
- parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley
Kitchen tools I use for this recipe:
- chef knife and cutting board
- 5-quart pot (to cook tortellini)
- stainless colander or mesh basket (to drain tortellini)
- large mixing bowl
- silicone spatula or spoon
- Microplane fine grater (to grate cheese)
Interested in more cold pasta salad recipes?
Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1.5 lb. package Cheese Tortellini
- 1 cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt you can use full-fat yogurt too
- 1/2 cup Basil Pesto
- 2 tbsp Mayonnaise optional
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Black Pepper to taste
- 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes some halved, some whole
- 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh Parsley chopped
For the pasta
- Cook TORTELLINI according to package instructions; drain, and rinse with cold water to cool down; set aside. Refrigerate until needed.
For the pesto pasta dressing
- In a mixing bowl, combine YOGURT, PESTO, MAYONNAISE (optional), OLIVE OIL, SALT, and PEPPER; cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Pro tip: When you make this dressing, set aside about 1/3 cup. You can use this to freshen up the salad when serving because the salad will have absorbed some of the dressing during refrigeration.
For the pesto pasta salad
- When ready to combine, gently fold in the dressing to coat the tortellini; then fold in the TOMATOES; cover and refrigerate.
- To serve, garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley. Refrigerate up to 3 days.Note: You may not need to add salt to this dish, as the pesto and pasta will both be salted.
I originally published this pesto pasta salad recipe on amandascookin.com in May 2017.