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Mouthwatering Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad with plump tortellini, cherry tomatoes, Greek olives, savory pesto, and Parmesan cheese. Turn 5 ingredients and 20 minutes into delicious perfection.
Why we love pesto tortellini salad
Get ready for a mouthwatering combination with only 5 ingredients. This tortellini salad is literally the easiest pasta salad you'll ever make. When I serve it at a gathering, it always disappears. It's so good, it barely makes it to the party!
Tortellini pesto salad is so versatile because you can use any variety of tortellini and any pesto flavor. I use cheese tortellini because it's universally loved, but you pick your favorite!
- tortellini pasta - I use 5 cheese tortellini for this recipe. Use your preferred variety, be it cheese, spinach, chicken, beef, or other tortellini.
- pesto - This can be store-bought or homemade pesto. I've used both and am always happy either way.
- cherry tomatoes - Or any tomato variety.
- Kalamata olives - I love the distinct flavor and color these olives bring to the pasta salad.
- Parmesan cheese - Grated, shaved, or shredded Parmesan can be used.
- (optional) garnish - Use fresh basil (if using basil pesto) or fresh arugula (if using arugula pesto).
The best tortellini for pasta salad
The photos you see for this tortellini pasta salad include fresh tortellini which is found in the refrigerated, prepared foods section. It cooks quicker than frozen or dried tortellini, but any variety can be used.
How to make this recipe
Follow package instructions to cook tortellini. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop it cooking. See Instant Pot instructions in recipe footnotes below.
Place cooked tortellini, tomatoes, olives, pesto, and Parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl. Gently toss to coat everything with pesto.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, if desired.
Tips for cooking tortellini for pasta salad
Don't overcook the tortellini. Fresh tortellini takes 3-5 minutes to fully cook since it is already precooked.
To make ahead, cook and cool the tortellini up to 2 days in advance, then refrigerate in an airtight container until you're ready to assemble pasta salad.
If the tortellini pasta sticks together at any point after cooking, simply run it under cold water in a colander and shake it loose, then drain to remove excess liquid. Repeat, if needed.
Add or substitute other ingredients such as red onions, mini mozzarella balls, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, bacon, or chicken. There are no rules for this pasta salad.
Make it a creamy tortellini pasta salad by adding mayonnaise or Greek yogurt in small amounts to reach the creamy consistency you want. Also, it's even more addictive!
Pesto tortellini pasta salad is delicious served warm. You can heat with a microwave or stove, the same way you would reheat any pasta entree.
What to serve with tortellini salad
- Garlic Butter Grilled Salmon
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- Greek Lemon Chicken
- Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
Try these easy pasta salads
- BLT Pasta Salad with Avocado
- Healthy Macaroni Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Italian Vegan Pasta Salad
Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
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- Cook TORTELLINI according to package instructions (see Instant Pot instructions in recipe footnotes).
- Transfer tortellini to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop it cooking. Drain to remove all excess water and cool completely.
- Combine cooled TORTELLINI, TOMATOES, OLIVES, PESTO, and PARMESAN CHEESE in a large mixing bowl. Gently toss to coat.
- Serve chilled with (optional) fresh PARSLEY and BASIL garnish.
- To store, refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
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- Place tortellini in the cooker with 1 cup water (use 2 cups water for 8 or 10 quart cooker).
- Select "Manual" or "Pressure cook" on HIGH pressure for 1 minute (for fresh tortellini) or 2 minutes (for frozen tortellini).
- Let the cooker sit for a 5-minute natural pressure release (NPR).
- Proceed to #2 in the instructions above.