Easy Tortellini Italian Pasta Salad made with Italian dressing in 15 minutes! So full of flavor and a side dish the whole family will love! Perfect for any summer BBQ!
This Italian pasta salad is my #1 favorite side dish to make for potlucks. It’s easy, quick and has so much flavor. Plus it holds up so well! Some of my other potluck favorites are chicken caesar pasta salad, fruit salad, broccoli salad, macaroni salad and ramen noodle cabbage salad.
This Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite summer dishes to make. We love grilling chicken and serving it on the side. The leftovers also taste amazing the next day for lunch. The Italian dressing really marinates all the flavors. So yummy! It’s a great side dish to bring to a potluck, as well and 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.
This Italian pasta salad is similar to my favorite easy pasta salad, but it much more filling with the tortellini noodles and salami. I also love the addition of cucumbers. It adds the perfect crunch. So yummy!
What goes into Italian pasta salad?
Tortellini: I absolutely love using tortellini for this Italian pasta salad. The cheese filling compliments all the other flavors in the dish so well. However you could use different noodles, like farfalle, ziti or rotini.
Veggies: We always add in bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes and onions. Feel free to add others like broccoli or zucchini.
Olives: These are optional, although they do add to the Italian flavor of the pasta salad!
Salami: Salami adds great flavor and makes the Italian pasta salad a little more filling. If you prefer pepperoni, you can use that instead.
Italian dressing: You can use store-bought (Olive Garden brand is my favorite) or make your own Italian vinaigrette.
Optional toppings: If you’d like, you can even top it with fresh parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to make it look extra nice.
How to make pasta salad with Italian dressing
The first thing you’ll want to do is cook your tortellini pasta noodles. While the pasta is cooking, I like to chop all my vegetables. Once the pasta is done, you’ll drain it and rinse it with cold water. Then toss everything in a large bowl with Italian dressing and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. So easy!
Can you make pasta salad ahead of time?
Yes! That’s one thing that I love about pasta salad. I’ll often make it the night before or morning of and stick it 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. Feel free to add a little more Italian dressing to your pasta salad right before serving to keep it moist.
How long will pasta salad keep in refrigerator?
This tortellini salad will last for about 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator. Just make sure to store in an airtight container. Leftover pasta salad makes the perfect lunch or dinner! You can even bulk it up a little by adding in some grilled chicken.
What goes with pasta salad?
We love to serve this Italian pasta salad with any of our favorite grilled meats. Grilled chicken, steak, burgers, chicken burgers…you name it. They all taste delicious! Sometimes we’ll make a fruit salad or grilled fruit kabobs to serve alongside it as well.
Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 pound three cheese tortellini
- 1 pint grape tomatoes , sliced
- 1 bell pepper , chopped
- 1 cucumber , chopped
- 3/4 cup sliced olives
- 1/4 cup sliced or chopped red onion
- 1 cup chopped salami or pepperoni , about 1/4 lb
- 1 1/4 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. Combine the tortellini, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, olives, red onion 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. I like to refrigerate about an hour before serving.
- Top with shredded parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, before serving, if desired.
- This dish can also be served as a main dish. If served as a main dish, it will serve 4-6.
- You can also use ziti or rotini noodles in place of the tortellini and add grilled chicken in place of the salami.
YUM! Now I’m craving this Italian pasta salad and can’t wait to make it next week. It will definitely be on repeat all summer long! Thinking I need to plan a backyard BBQ soon. Love getting together with friends and family, enjoying delicious food and watching the kids run around like crazy. Anything to get their energy out, right? ;)