Easy tortellini pasta salad made with zesty Italian dressing in just 15 minutes! So full of flavor and a side dish the whole family will love. Perfect for any summer BBQ!
Table of Contents
Italian Pasta Salad
This Italian tortellini salad is one of my favorite pasta salad recipes to make during the summer. It’s made with soft and cheesy tortellini, fresh veggies, black olives, salami and a zesty Italian dressing. We love to serve it alongside grilled chicken or chicken kabobs with some fresh grilled corn on the cob. The leftovers also taste amazing the next day for lunch. The Italian dressing really marinates all the flavors together while it chills in the fridge.
It also makes the perfect side dish to bring to a BBQ and is very filling. Not to mention it is SUPER easy to make. It will be done in 15 minutes or less. You all know I love easy meals, especially during the summer time and this is my #1 go to. It holds up so well!
Tips + Variations
This delicious side dish is easy pasta salad meets antipasto but is much more filling with the cheese tortellini noodles and salami. I also love the addition of the fresh cucumbers for the perfect crunch. It has the best Italian flavor and is the perfect cold salad to enjoy during the summer.
- Tortellini. The cheese filling inside the tortellini absolutely makes this dish! While other types of pasta like farfalle or rotini would still taste delicious, I definitely recommend tortellini for the best flavor and texture.
- Other veggies. Feel free to mix in other veggies like broccoli or zucchini.
- Salami. This adds great flavor and makes it a little more filling. If you prefer pepperoni, you can use that instead. Or leave out the meat completely to make vegetarian.
- Italian dressing. You can use store-bought (Olive Garden salad dressing is my favorite) or make your own homemade Italian dressing.
- Chill before serving. After preparing the salad, I like to let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. The flavors marinate together and have a bolder taste.
- Fresh parmesan cheese. For the ultimate Italian flavor, top the salad with some freshly shaved parmesan cheese.
- Pesto. For a fun twist on flavor, use a mix of Italian dressing + basil pesto.
- Spice. If you like heat, feel free to mix in a few red pepper flakes.
Making in Advance
To make ahead: This salad can easily be made the night before (or morning of) and stored in the fridge to chill until ready to serve. The flavors marinate together and taste amazing! However I’d only recommend making it 1 day in advance, as you still want the veggies to stay fresh and crisp. Feel free to add a little more Italian dressing right before serving to keep it moist.
To store: This dish will last for about 5 days in the refrigerator. Just make sure to store in an airtight container. Thread tortellini unto these mini antipasto skewers to give your leftovers a makeover!
Other Potluck Favorites
Tortellini Pasta Salad
- 1 pound three cheese tortellini
- 1 pint grape tomatoes , sliced
- 1 bell pepper , chopped
- 1 cucumber , chopped
- ¾ cup sliced olives
- ¼ cup sliced or chopped red onion
- 1 cup chopped salami or pepperoni , about 1/4 lb
- 1 ¼ cups Italian dressing , I like using the Olive Garden brand, more if needed
- Shredded parmesan cheese , optional
- Chopped parsley , optional
- Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and run through cool water, until cooled.
- Chop the tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber and onion on a cutting board. Then combine them with the tortellini, olives and salami in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and stir gently until evenly coated.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Top with shredded parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, before serving, if desired. Serve while chilled.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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